Other Writing


I have not kept a systematic record of my contributions to books by others, which include items as far out of my normal writing range as various volumes of the Time Life Good Cook series. Below are some of the more significant ones. If anyone knows if the Puffin Modern Classics editions of The Changes by Peter Dickinson and Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease were ever published, I would be interested to know; I remember writing Afterwords for them, but not ever seeing copies.

Entries in Twentieth Century Childrens Writers, ed. Kirkpatrick, Macmillan 1978, revised for the 3rd edition, St James Press, 1989
Childrens Literature and the Oral Tradition, in Further Approaches to Research in Childrens Literature, ed. Hunt, Uwist Modern English Series, 1981
Alan Garner, in A Fantasy Reader, ed. Frane & Rems, 1981
Entries in The Fontana Biographical Companion to Modern Thought, ed. Bullock & Woodings, Fontana, 1983
Afterword in The Stone Book Quartet by Alan Garner, Dell, 1988
The Wind in the Willows: The Vitality of a Classic, in Children and Their Books: A Celebration of the Work of Iona and Peter Opie, ed. Avery & Briggs, Oxford University Press, 1989; a version of this also published as The Wind in the Willows: A Companionable Vitality, in Touchstones: Reflections on the Best in Childrens Literature, ed. Nodelman, ChLA, 1985
Introduction to Fanny Hill by John Cleland, Sidgwick & Jackson, 1989
Introduction to The Railway Children by E. Nesbit, ill. Pamela Kay, Heinemann, 1989
Dreamtime, in Travellers in Time, CLNE/Green Bay, 1990
Afterword in The Golden Goose Book by L. Leslie Brooke, Clarion, 1992
Afterword in Ring o Roses by Leslie L. Brooke, Clarion, 1992
Introduction in The Complete Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, ill. Isabelle Brent, Little, Brown, 1993
Introduction in The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, ill. Isabelle Brent, 1994
Afterword in A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin, Puffin Modern Classics, 1994
Afterword in The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, Puffin Modern Classics, 1994
Afterword in Smith by Leon Garfield, Puffin Modern Classics, 1994
Introduction in The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde, ill. Isabelle Brent, Little, Brown, 1994
Introduction and Notes in The Ocean of Story: Fairy Tales from India by Caroline Ness, ill. Jacqueline Mair, 1995
Consultant, The Illustrated Dictionary of Mythology by Philip Wilkinson, 1998
Creativity and Tradition in the Fairy Tale, in Companion to the Fairy Tale, ed. Ellis Davidson & Chaudhri, Boydell & Brewer, 2003


From the late 1970s through the 1980s I contributed a huge amount of literary journalism to various newspapers and journals, from The Times through to little poetry magazines. In recent years I have continued this at a less frenetic pace. At no time did I keep a proper record of this output, so the few items recorded here are simply those I have to hand (discounting simple book reviews). The bulk of my reviewing was done for The Times Educational Supplement and British Book News, and the most important of my essays appeared in Signal, but over the years I have contributed, among others, to: The Times, The Times Educational Supplement, The Times Higher Educational Supplement, The Times Literary Supplement, The Sunday Times, British Book News, The Listener, The Literary Review, Folklore, Childrens Literature in Education, Signal, The School Librarian, the Newsletter of the Childrens Books History Society, Books for Keeps, Now!, Between the Lines, Aquarius, Labrys, Tract. With any luck I will find the time at some point to improve and expand this section of the site.


The Function of Myth in Childrens Literature, Tract 29 & 30, c.1979
Cinderellas Many Guises: A Look at Early Sources and Recent Versions, Signal, 1980
Garner and Shamanism, Labrys 7, 1981
Fantasy: Double Cream or Instant Whip?, Signal, 1981
Toms Midnight Garden and the Vision of Eden, Signal, 1982
Magic in the Poetry of Charles Causley, Signal, 1982
The Signal Poetry Award, Signal, 1983, 1984, 1985
What Makes a Childrens Classic?, TES 13/1/1984
This Way Confusion?, Signal, 1984
Children, If You Dare to Think...: The Importance of Poetry, The School Librarian, June 1985
The Lore of the Rings, TES 31/1/1992
Englands Dreaming, Signal, January 1997
The Shared Moment: Thoughts on Children & Poetry, Signal, January 1999
The Cinderella Cycle, programme note for La Cenerentola, Royal Opera House, 2000
The Arabian Nights, Books for Keeps, May 2002
Tales of the Rusalki, programme note for Rusalka, Royal Opera House, 2003
Telling Tales, programme note for The Sleeping Beauty, Royal Opera House, 2003
The Shawl of the Beauty of the World: The Childrens Books of Ted Hughes, Signal 100, 2003
The Little Prince (Hans Christian Andersen), The Times, 8 January 2005
Hans Christian Andersen: The Man, Books for Keeps, May 2005
Why Do We Really Tell St
ories?, Books for Keeps, January 2008


Helen Cresswell: Facing Into the Light, TES 27/3/1981
Geoffrey Trease: Into a New World, British Book News Childrens Books Supplement, Autumn 1982
Philippa Pearce: Understanding Childrens Thoughts, British Book News Childrens Books Supplement, Autumn 1983
Elsa Posell: Survival, TES 30/3/1984
Margaret Mahy: The Other Side of Invention, TES 10/1/1995
Other interviewees, details of publication lost in the mists of time, included P. L. Travers, Mary Norton, Jan Mark, Charles Causley, and Jill Paton Walsh (all for the TES), and no doubt others.


My one stage play, Her Who Is Never Forgotten, about John Clare, was directed at the Tower Theatre Club in Islington by Colin Smith, in 1984. In 1985 BBC Radio 4 broadcast three documentary plays with music, adapted by me from my book Between Earth and Sky: The Lads that Can Keep Along the Plough; Silence Becomes Me Best; and White Slaves of England. A proposed stage play based on the same material was never produced. In the early 1980s I wrote commentaries and accompanying booklets for several documentary films, including Responsibility: A Film About People; London Pride: 100 Years of the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association; and Fine Timing: The New Runway at Manchester Airport. Fine Timing won the Financial Times Export Award, 1982.