Philip Pullman

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Philip Pullman is the author of the celebrated His Dark Materials trilogy: Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. He was born in Norwich and spent his early years travelling all over the world with his father, who was in the RAF, and his mother and brother. Whilst in Australia he devoured comic book stories, which made a big contrast to the traditional stories his clergyman grandfather would tell him on return trips to Norwich. Philip planned to be a writer from the age of six and, when the family moved to Wales when he was 11, he developed a real passion for stories, encouraged by a school teacher to read more and write them down. Philip went to study English at Oxford, although he says it was really after he finished his degree that he started to learn. He began his first novel the day he left and although he says "it was terrible" he didn't give up. He worked in a variety of jobs to enable him to write and eventually went into teaching. He developed his writing style further by writing school plays and dealing with the challenge of making them accessible to both the children and the parents: it was an ideal training ground.

Philip has since written many books for children: Clockwork, I was a Rat! (which was dramatised for BBC television), and The Firework-Maker's Daughter, which won the Smarties Gold Award in 1996 and the Sally Lockhart Award. The His Dark Materials trilogy has become a huge success with children and adults, and, on 22nd January 2002, Philip won the Whitbread Prize for the third book in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass. This was the first time that a children's book had won either the Booker or the Whitbread.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: Sonata Reminiscenza in A Minor by Nickolay Medtner
Book: A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu by Marcel Proust
Luxury: A Jar of Apricots, by Chardin

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45 minutes

Last on

Fri 11 Oct 2002 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestPhilip Pullman

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