A little more about Peter Dickinson

Fri 18 Dec 2015 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Posted by: Gavin

A great bio.From Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link of Small Beer Press: “We are immensely sorry to hear of Peter Dickinson’s death. Publishing his collection Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures was an honor and we considered ourselves very lucky to have been able to bring four more of his titles back into print in recent years. Working with Peter, who had published so many good books, won so many awards, worked with so many publishers, was nerve wracking at first but he was so calm, dry, and funny that he soon put us at ease. He will be much missed.”

From Peter Dickinson’s family: “We are devastated to have lost him, but very, very grateful to have known him. He gave us so much, in his love for us and his stories which inspired us. He has left us with many memories and we will treasure them all.”

From The Guardian: “He was admired for the originality and range of his stories and the variety of settings he explored in them.”

From The Telegraph: “Dickinson’s stories combined riveting plots with a deep historical awareness and insight. Philip Pullman observed that they carried “a charge of excitement, and a restless exploration of large ideas, which I find unfailingly thrilling. . . . Dickinson had an unusual gift for putting himself into the shoes of his youthful protagonists — imagining how it feels to be a missionary’s son, orphaned in the Boxer Rebellion and lost in the mountains of Tibet (Tulku, 1979); describing what it would be like to be a 13-year-old girl in an over-populated future dystopia, whose memory has been transplanted to the brain of a chimp (Eva, 1989); portraying the life of a child guerrilla in a fictional African country (AK, 1990) or a Byzantine slave boy, fleeing rampaging Huns in the company of a tame bear (The Dancing Bear, 1972). “It is not part of fiction’s job to tell the reader what to think,” he explained. “But it can be fiction’s job to show the reader how it feels, because that can only be done through the imagination.”

From The New York Times: “Mr. Dickinson’s appetite for arcane knowledge and his taste for unusual situations, often those from the past, made him a highly unpredictable genre writer. . . . Although well plotted, Mr. Dickinson’s mysteries appealed to readers looking for something besides ingenious clockwork mechanisms. As often as not, his puzzles offered an excuse to explore deeper human and scientific issues.”

From Publishers Weekly: “His eldest daughter Philippa, the former managing director of Random House Children’s Publishers U.K., shared this remembrance: “There are so many images I have of my father, but perhaps the one which shines brightest at this moment is of him at the wheel of the family car, driving us all somewhere — to visit relatives, perhaps. In the days before radios in cars, the amazing stories he would tell us all the way there, and all the way back, was our ‘in-car entertainment.’ It was an extremely effective way of keeping four lively children amused during a long journey,” she said. “Some of these stories eventually became the beginnings of books which were published. Others never made it. I vividly recall a hilarious space adventure with giant spiders that had us all, including Dad, in fits of laughter — luckily there were fewer cars on the roads in those days. It was brilliant — and he did eventually get it down on paper but somehow it never quite worked as well . . . If it wasn’t a story, it might be an epic poem that he had learned by heart as a child. He also read to us every night at bedtime and continued to do so until we were into our early teens.” ”


Peter’s family has suggested that rather than sending flowers, donations in Peter’s memory may be sent to his nominated charities: Save The Children; The Alzheimer’s Society; Medecins Sans Frontieres.