The Children’s Media Foundation (CMF)

Sir Philip Pullman C.B.E.

Sir Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946.   The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force.  He spent part of his childhood in Australia and from the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it.  His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.

After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English.  He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher.  He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer.  He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher.  Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. Philip lives just outside Oxford, and he writes in a shed at the bottom of his garden.  The shed contains two comfortable chairs (one for writing in, one for sitting at the computer in), several hundred books, a six-foot-long stuffed rat which took a part in his play Sherlock Holmes and the Limehouse Horror, a guitar, a saxophone, as well as the computer, decorated with dozens of brightly coloured artificial flowers attached to it by Blu-Tack.

Philip Pullman was awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours list in 2004 and was knighted in the New Years Honours List 2018/19.