Judith Kerr was born on 14th June 1923 in Hamburg, Germany to a German-Jewish theatre critic. The family fled Germany in 1933 on the eve of war, fearful because Judith’s father had been openly critical of the Nazis, events that inspired her writing for years to come.
Originally a budding artist, this was put on the backburner when she became a refugee. Eventually the family would settle in Britain and when Judith had her own children she started writing and drawing again.
Her first and possibly most famous work The Tiger Who Came to Tea was published in 1968, inspired by the threat at the door of living under the Reich. The tiger came to being after visits Judith and her children made to the zoo and made up stories for her children based on the animals. A favourite of her daughter’s was the ‘tiger story’, and the Tiger
My own favourite is Mog the cat and this series of stories is also inspired by a real cat. Judith had always wanted a cat as a child but had been unable to because of the family’s instability, when she moved into her own house she acquired an eccentric cat inspiring an 18 series long set of books.
Kerr’s other best known series doesn’t feature cats, but there is a pink rabbit. The Out of the Hitler Time trilogy is a semi-autobiographical story of a young Jewish girl and her family escaping the Nazis.
Aside from that Kerr has at least a dozen books to her name, the most recent published in 2015 and this life of writing is testament to one of the most popular children’s authors of our time.
Born in New Jersey, Parker had an unhappy childhood, leading to a long and unhappy relationship with her own father. She first became well known in 1918 when she stepped in for P. G Wodehouse writing theatre criticism for Vanity Fair. While her caustic wit was popular with readers, she was eventually terminated after her criticisms began to offend powerful theatre producers. Read More
She is best known for her book series Mary Poppins (1934) upon which the famous 1964 Disney movie was based. Another musical adaptation of the books and film was put on in the West End in 2004, and premiered on Broadway in 2006.
Reportedly inspired by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, Travers’ work is full of magic and humour, and perfect for adults and children alike.
Here are ten of her best quotes from the Mary Poppins novels.
Thought to be an influence on many of today’s authors including Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Joanne Harris and Richard Matheson, Jackson’s books are sinister, earning her the title the master of the horror tale. Read More
Alexei Sayle has turned his hand to a vast array of creative mediums over the last four decades from his 3 music albums in the 1980s, written 5 screenplays and 10 books, as well as a host of film and television appearances.
As an author Sayle has written five novels and two short story collections, and in 1987 he created a graphic novel, Geoffrey The Tube Train And The Fat Comedian. A collection of his columns for Time Out and the Sunday Mirror were collated into his book Great Bus Journeys of the World, co-written with David Stafford.