For thousands of children born since 1986, reading means the Brian Jacques’ Redwall series. Whether they were first hooked on books by the exploits of Matthias, Cluny, Martin the Warrior, and Jacques’ many memorable characters, or by the action and adventure, his stories created many readers for life.
With 22 books in 29 languages having sold more than 20 million copies, Jacques was a successful writer and he took great pleasure in his success. It allowed this once-poor, young boy to do things he had never dreamed possible.
Although he loved to write from the age of 10, he spent a good deal of his life as a storyteller. On his delivery route as a milkman, Jacques was invited to tea at the Royal Wavertree School for the Blind. He volunteered to read to the children there. Becoming dissatisfied with all the stories ”filled with angst,” he created his own, set in the forest in and around Redwall Abbey. For seven months, he handwrote an 800-page manuscript, which he eventually handed to his former English teacher for critique. Unbeknownst to Jacques, that teacher took the manuscript to several publishers.
Born in Liverpool on June 15, 1939, Brian Jacques lived there all his life. He went to St. John’s School in Kirkdale until he was 15, when he joined the merchant marine. He worked as a truck driver, a bobby, a firefighter, a playwright, and radio show host. ”Jakestown,” his show, was on BBC Radio Merseyside for 20 years. But most of all, his fans are glad he became a writer. He became a patron at that Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, made possible by his ability to write books that so many people eagerly awaited reading. Of that, he was very proud.
He passed away in February 5, 2011.