Jill Paton Walsh

Jill Paton Walsh CBE FRSL (born 29 April 1937) is an English novelist and children's writer. She may be known best for the Peter WimseyHarriet Vane mysteries that have completed and continued the work of Dorothy Sayers.

Personal life

Born Gillian Bliss, she was educated at St. Michael's Convent,[1] North Finchley, London, and she read English Literature at St Anne's College, Oxford. She lives in Cambridge. In 1961, she married Antony Paton Walsh (died 30 December 2003); the couple had one son and two daughters. In 2004, she married John Rowe Townsend, who died in 2014.[2]

Her brother, Christopher Bliss, was Nuffield Professor of International Economics at Oxford University (1992–2007) and a Fellow of Nuffield College (1977–2007).


In 1996, Paton Walsh received the CBE for services to literature and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. In 1998 she won the Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association, recognising A Chance Child as the best children's book published twenty years earlier that did not win a major award.[3]

On writing for children

In an essay on realism in children's literature, Walsh stated that realism (like fantasy) is also metaphorical, and that she would like the relationship between the reader and her characters Bill and Julie to be as metaphorical as that between "dragons and the reader's greed or courage".[4]


Knowledge of Angels (1993), a medieval philosophical novel, shortlisted for the 1994 Booker Prize.[5] Other adult novels include:

  • Farewell, Great King (1972)
  • Lapsing (1986), about Catholic university students
  • A School for Lovers (1989), reworking of the plot of Mozart's Cosi fan tutte
  • The Serpentine Cave (1997), based on a lifeboat disaster in St Ives
  • A Desert in Bohemia (2000), which follows a group of characters in England and in an imaginary Eastern European country through the years between World War II and 1989

Imogen Quy

Paton Walsh wrote four detective stories featuring part-time college nurse Imogen Quy, set in fictional St. Agatha's College, University of Cambridge:

  • The Wyndham Case (1993)
  • A Piece of Justice (1995)
  • Debts of Dishonour (2006)
  • The Bad Quarto (2007)

Lord Peter Wimsey

In 1998, she completed Dorothy L. Sayers's unfinished Lord Peter WimseyHarriet Vane novel, Thrones, Dominations. In 2002, she followed this up with another Lord Peter novel, A Presumption of Death. In 2010, she published a third, The Attenbury Emeralds.[6] Her latest addition to the series, The Late Scholar, was published 5 December 2013 in the UK, and 14 January 2014 in North America.[7]

Children's books

  • Hengest's Tale (St Martin's Press, 1966), fiction, illustrated by Janet Margrie[8]
  • The Dolphin Crossing (1967), adapted for the stage by Ed Viney (2012)
  • Word Hoard: Anglo-Saxon stories (1969?), by Paton Walsh and Kevin Crossley-Holland
  • Fireweed (1969)
  • Goldengrove (1972)
  • Toolmaker (1973), picture book illus. Jeroo Roy
  • The Emperor's Winding SheetWhitbread Prize for children's books, 1974
  • The Butty Boy (1975), illus. Juliette Palmer
  • The Huffler (1975), illus. Palmer
  • The Island Sunrise: prehistoric Britain (1975); US subtitle, —nonfiction
  • Unleaving (1976), sequel to GoldengroveBoston Globe–Horn Book Award for fiction, 1976
  • Crossing to Salamis (1977), picture book illus. David Smee
  • The Walls of Athens (1977), picture book illus. Smee
  • A Chance Child (1978)
  • Children of the Fox (1978), illus. Robin Eaton
  • The Green Book (1981), illus. Lloyd Bloom
  • Babylon (1982)
  • A Parcel of Patterns (1983)
  • Gaffer Samson's Luck (1984) —Smarties Prize, 1985
  • Birdy and the Ghosties (1989)
  • Grace (1991)
  • When Grandma Came (1992), picture book illus. by Sophy Williams
  • Thomas and the Tinners (1995)


  • Garrett, Martin (2004). Cambridge: A Cultural and Literary History. Oxford: Signal Books. Archived from the original on 7 April 2011. With foreword by Jill Paton Walsh.


  1. "The Fitzwilliam Museum - Home - Online Resources - Online Exhibitions - A Source of Inspiration - Contributors - Jill Paton Walsh". 4 February 2010.
  2. Nettell, Stephanie (2 April 2014). "John Rowe Townsend obituary" via The Guardian.
  3. "Phoenix Award Brochure 2012". Children's Literature Association. Retrieved 2 March 2013.
    See also the current homepage, "Phoenix Award".
  4. Walsh, Jill Paton; Betsy Hearne, Marilyn Kaye (eds) (1981). Celebrating Children's Books: Essays on Children's Literature in Honor of Zena Sutherland. New York: Lathrop, Lee, and Shepard Books. pp. 37. ISBN 0-688-00752-X.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  5. The Guardian, 24 October 2010
  6. The Attenbury Emeralds. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-340-99572-3.
  7. The Late Scholar. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2014. Paperback, 368 pages. ISBN 1444751905, ISBN 978-1444751901.
  8. Hengest's tale. Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 26 August 2013.
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.