Rosemary Sutcliff, author of children’s historical novels, was born on December 14, 1920, in Surrey, England. She wrote children’s books, novels, short stories, and scripts for radio, TV, and film.
In childhood, Still’s disease kept her in a wheelchair and close to home. Her mother homeschooled her and first introduced her to Saxon and Celtic legends. She didn’t learn to read until the age of ten. In her autobiography, Blue Hills Remembered, Ms. Sutcliff wrote, “I had a lonely childhood and growing-up time. My parents loved me and I loved them, but I could never talk to them about the problems and fears and aching hopes inside me that I had most need to talk about to someone. And there was no one else.”
Sutcliff attended Bidford Art School at the age of 14. She began to write for publication in 1946 and was commissioned to write a children’s version of Robin Hood. She went on to write 46 novels for young people, several of which were ALA notable books. The Lantern Bearers was awarded the 1959 Carnegie Medal.
In 1975, she was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to children’s literature. In 1992, Ms. Sutcliff was named Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
She described her style as immersing herself in an era, letting history guide her plot development. She is remembered for her sense of historical detail.
Rosemary Sutcliff died in 1992.
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