The Passing of Peter Dickinson, Author – 1927-2015


PeterDickinson-EnglishAuthor-Poet_16Dec1927-16Dec2015

“It is not part of fiction’s job to tell the reader what to think, but it can be fiction’s job to show the reader how it feels, because that can only be done through the imagination.”

Although I’m not that familiar with his work, I was saddened to hear that award winning crime, mystery and children’s book author, Peter Dickinson, passed away on 16 December. He was born in Livingstone, Zambia (formerly North Rhodesia), but from the age of 7 was raised, and received his education, in England at Eton and at King’s College, Cambridge, from whence he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree.

To quote the official website, Peter Dickinson was “…a tall, elderly, bony, beaky, wrinkled sort of fellow, with a lot of untidy grey hair and a weird hooting voice — in fact he looks and sounds a bit like Gandalf’s crazy twin…”!  Around the age of 40, his first two novels were published and his last two works were published in 2012; he was 83 at the time. What a long and illustrious career!

His accolades include being elected a Fellow in the Royal Society of Literature in 1999, an appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 and becoming chairman of the Society of Authors. He also earned the Horn Book Award in 1977, the Gold Dagger Award, Guardian Fiction Children’s Prize, Whitbread Children’s Book Award and has been the only author, to date, to win two Carnagie medals. The list goes on…on…on…on!

According to the small amount of research I’ve done on him, he was, apparently, one of the “old school” greats, exhibiting an admirable skill of being able to ensnare his audience by means of such descriptive writing that “drew them in” to the world in which his characters lived, whether in the environment of a crime novel, supernatural tales for older children, or simple picture books for the youngest of children.

His was a mind which could perceive being any one character, including child or animal, free or bond and feeling…indeed, becoming…each of those characters. One quote from this treasured writer shall stick in my mind:

“It is not part of fiction’s job to tell the reader what to think, but it can be fiction’s job to show the reader how it feels, because that can only be done through the imagination.”

Peter Dickinson 16 December 1927  – 16 December 2015.

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References and Citations:

“Guardian children’s fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners”. the guardian 12 March 2001. Retrieved 19 December 2015.

“Robin McKinley.” Robin McKinley. Web. 19 Dec. 2015.
“Peter Dickinson.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Web. 19 Dec. 2015.
“Author Peter Dickinson Dies on 88th Birthday | The Bookseller.” Author Peter Dickinson Dies on 88th Birthday | The Bookseller. Web. 19 Dec. 2015.
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