Philip Pullman

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Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on October 19th, 1946. His father, a pilot in the Royal Air Force, was killed early in Pullman's life, leaving him to be raised by his mother and stepfather, as well as his grandfather, who was a clergyman in rural England. He grew up in England, Zimbabwe, Australia and North Wales, before going to Exeter College, Oxford to study English. Pullman has said that Exeter has been his primary model for Jordan College in the books. He taught middle-school English for a few years before becoming a part-time lecturer at Westminster College, Oxford.

His first book, The Haunted Storm , joint-won the New English Library's Young Writer's Award in 1972. It was followed in 1978 by Galatea , which, like The Haunted Storm , was aimed at adult readers. Pullman dislikes these early works and refuses to discuss them or have them reprinted.

His first book for children was Count Karlstein , published in 1982. He then began working on the Sally Lockhart series: The Ruby in the Smoke (1985), The Shadow in the North (1986), The Tiger in the Well (1991) and The Tin Princess (1994). This was a mystery series set in Victorian times.

He began work on the His Dark Materials trilogy in 1993. The first book, Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the United States) was published in 1995 and followed by The Subtle Knife in 1998 and The Amber Spyglass in 2000. Two follow-up short stories, Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North , were published in 2003 and 2008 respectively. New Line Cinema made a film adaptation of Northern Lights , which was released in 2007, but there are currently no plans to adapt the other books in the series for film.

Pullman's other works range from young-adult realistic fiction (such as The Butterfly Tattoo , published in 1986 and reissued in 1988) to adventure stories aimed at younger children, such as The Firework Maker's Daughter (1995). His most recent book is The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ , which retells the story of Jesus as if he were two people: Jesus, who is a moral and compassionate man and Christ, who wants to use his brother's legacy to found a powerful Church. Pullman is currently working on The Book of Dust , a companion to the His Dark Materials trilogy .

Pullman has been married to his wife Jude since 1970. They live in Oxford and have two adult sons, Tom and Jamie.


Growing Up In Ardudwy - Pullman looks back at his time in Wales in the 50s and 60s. Essay provided thanks to IWA and Cittagazze.

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Images from The Golden Compass movie are © New Line Cinema.