Philip Pullman Golden Compass
Ruby in the Smoke Count Karlstein
Born on October 19th, Philip Pullman began his existence in Norwich, England. Since then, he has brought memorable characters into existence—Lyra in the His Dark Materials trilogy, Sally Lockhart in her own trilogy, Count Karlstein, Spring-Heeled Jack, and Lila in their Victorian England stories. Often compared to Dickens in his storytelling complexity and tone, Pullman received a host of awards for the final book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. The Amber Spyglass was the first children’s novel ever to be nominated for the Booker Prize in Great Britain, in 2000. That book won the Whitbread Award in Britain for both children’s and adult fiction. The His Dark Materials trilogy, in particular, has caused a great deal of discussion in children’s literature circles for its themes and characterizations. He says he set out to write Paradise Lost in three volumes for children.

Mr. Pullman’s father was in the Royal Air Force, but he died when the boy was seven. His stepfather was also a pilot in the RAF so he spent part of his childhood in Australia. When he was old enough, he became a middle school teacher in a boys’ school. He has said that he learned to write by storytelling. His students were enthralled by stories of the Greek gods, particularly when Mr. Pullman told the stories out loud. Through repetition, he learned how stories work best.

Soon he began writing plays for his students to enact and some of his books are based on those plays—the Sally Lockhart trilogy evolved this way.

He claims that he uses a lot of Post-It notes to write. He summarizes a scene on the smallest size of Post-Its and then attaches them to a single sheet of paper, which eventually becomes a chapter. He likes having the ability to move his scenes around as he wills.

He is married and has two sons. His family lives in Great Britain.

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