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Philip Pullman, l'auteur


Philip Pullman - pic: Jonas D. pour Cittagazze
     Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, UK, on October 19, 1946. His father being a RAF pilot, he and his family lives in Zimbabwe when aged 6 before heading back to England where his grand-father, an Anglican clergyman and talented storyteller will have a big influence on him and his relation with stories and storytelling. When his father dies during the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya, he is only 8 and his mother moves with him and his brother in London, where she later marries another RAF pilot. The family moves again to follow him to Australia. In this far country he reaches by sea, Philip will discover and be fascinated by all the comics he couldn't find in the UK: Superman, Superboy, Dick Tracy and, above all of them, Batman...

     Philip Pullman comes back to Wales at 11 and settles in a countryside area allowing many wanderings into the wild and inspiring many stories he later tells his brother at bedtime.
It is in Wales that the young Philip really discovers litterature thanks to a teacher who introduces him to British poetry and more specifically John Milton's Paradise Lost. He later joins Oxford (Exeter College, the source of inspiration for Lyra's Jordan). If he sort of fall in love with the city, he soon understands that he is not interested in the study of English and would have prefered studying art. Nonetheless, he graduates and after a few jobs, starts teaching in an Oxford elementary school and then at Westminster College - he never really left Oxford since then.

     Over the same period, he marries Judy and becomes father of two. But he writes, too...
     He writes in his garden shed, to find quietness and avoid any noise and be able to concentrate on the sound of the words he writes with a self-imposed pace of three pages a day, no matter the quality of these - habit has written far more books than inspiration has, he regularly says. After two books for adult readers, the first of these aged 25, Philip Pullman starts writing children's litterature: first Count Karlstein in 1982, then The Ruby in the Smoke, first instalment of a series of four books telling the adventures of a young victorian heroin named Sally Lockhart. His teaching activities, for which he often reads and tells stories to his pupils, also lead him to write stageplays for them and to produce books adapted from these..

     If education remains one of his favorite focuses, bringing sometimes quite cheerful or rather direct statements from his side, Philip Pullman stops teaching after the release of His Dark Materials, which bring him worldwide fame and numerous litterary prices, including the prestigious Whitbread Price in 2001. Since the, his main source of incomes is his pen - a Monblanc ballpoint pen with A4 narrow lined paper with two holes (exclusively!).

     Through his works, Pullman explores his favorite themes (among others education, the essence of being human, instrumented religion, the coming-of-age, but also politics) while never forgetting that the first target of a novel is to tell a story as good as possible.

     Philip Pullman has a website and regularly posts on Twitter (@philippullman) to react to latest news, answer his readers' questions, share some private thoughts (in a sometimes quite direct, unfiltered way), and even (as he did in 2013-2014) to tell in 140 letters the amazing stories of a homefly named Jeffrey.

     S'He currently writes the final book of his Book of Dust and already has various projects after that (Sally's return, maybe, or an autobiography). But Philip Pullman also enjoys woodcarving and chairs since 2013 as President of the Society of Authors, who advocates authors in the UK. He also takes part from time to time to conferences and literrary event in his country.

     He was knighted for his services to litterature in 2019: you may call him Sir Philip!


     Books

     Related

Please note that more links are available in French as some articles we translated at the time of their release were removed since or are related to websites which do not exist anymore. Our translations, however, if you're lucky enough to read French, remain.
Note as well that our friends from BridgeToTheStars.net also gathered a collection of relevant articles directly related to Sir Philip Pullman. These can be found here.

Sources and Copyrights

Author's protrait by Jonas D. for Cittàgazze, June 2010.
Last updated: 02/05/2020


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