Judith Kerr: An Author and Her Big and Small Cats

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.

The YA Book Prize Opens for Submissions

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Do you know anyone who’s written a brilliant young adult novel? If so you may want to give them the heads up as submissions open for the YA Book Prize 2018.

The YA Book Prize has been running in the UK and Ireland since 2014, and serves to champion the breadth and brilliance of Young Adult writing. The deadline is a couple of months away yet so authors have time to prepare! Read More

10 Thoughtful Quotes By E.M. Forster

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Edward Morgan Forster was born in London in 1879, and died in June 1970. As a novelist, essayist, and short story writer he published under the shortened name of E.M. Forster. Forster is best known for his ironic and wry novels full of thoughtful prose looking at class difference in early 20th-century British society. He shone a light on hypocrisy in the social order, and with his 1910 novel Howards End, he offered a humanistic examination of life. His mindful understanding is summed up in the epigraph to Howards End:

“Only connect”.

Here are ten of our favourite Forster quotes from various novels… Let us know if we have missed your most loved Froster quote.

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Terry Pratchett: His World – A Review of the Exhibition

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On until January 2018, the Salisbury Museum with donations and support from The Estate of Terry Pratchett, and Paul Kidby – Sir Terry Pratchett’s artist of choice – present an exhibition entitled ‘Terry Pratchett: His World’.

The exhibition is a unique collection of artefacts which portray his amazing life and career, from his first novel The Carpet People which was published in 1971 to his later novels including the Discworld series. Artwork from the Discworld novels including over 40 original illustrations by Paul Kidby adorn the walls and will make any Discworld fan nostalgic for the books.

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The Private Lives of Authors: Sylvia Plath

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Many people know about Sylvia Plath’s writing, her relationship with Ted Hughes, and her battle with mental illness. A little known fact about Plath, however, was her passion for beekeeping.

Her love for bees began with her father, Otto Plath, who was a bumble bee expert.  Otto Plath’s book Bumblebees and Their Ways was published in 1934 and is still used today. Plath’s father grew up in Germany where he gained the nickname Beinen-Konig, meaning King of the Bees. Boston University recognised his knowledge and passion, giving him a place on their academic staff as the Professor of Entomology.

 

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Philip K. Dick: From Book to Film – A Video Essay

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Philip K. Dick December 16, 1928 – March 2, 1982 was an American writer notable for his works of science fiction where his writing is dominated by authoritarian themes, alternate universes and altered states of consciousness, many of which have been adapted for film and television.

His work has spanned many decades, and you can often age people by what they know him for. In the early 80s when the movie adaptation was released, we all passed around copies of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, today The Man in the High Castle is big news thanks to Amazon. Read More

Philip Pullman’s New Novel Accidentally Published Early

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Readers in the Netherlands have had a bit of a treat this week as Philip Pullman’s new novel The Book of Dust has been accidentally published in the country several weeks early.

The Book of Dust: Volume 1 ‘La Belle Sauvage’ was due for worldwide publication on 19th October but due to a mix up, Dutch publishers Uitgeverij Prometheus distributed copies early, seeing copies of the books hit the shelves on 4th October.

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