Doherty, Berlie 1943-

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DOHERTY, Berlie 1943-

PERSONAL: Surname is pronounced "Dor-ty"; born November 6, 1943, in Liverpool, England; daughter of Walter Alfred (a railway clerk) and Peggy (Brunton) Hollingsworth; married Gerard Doherty, 1966; children: Janna, Tim, Sally. Education: University of Durham, B.A. (with honors), 1965; University of Liverpool, postgraduate certificate in social science, 1966; University of Sheffield, postgraduate certificate in education, 1978. Hobbies and other interests: Music, walking, tennis, travel, and theater.

ADDRESSES: Agent—David Higham Associates, 5-8 Lower John St., Golden Square, London W1R 4HA England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Leicestershire Child Care Services, Leicester, England, child care officer, 1966-67; homemaker, 1967-78; teacher in Sheffield, England, 1978-80; schools broadcaster for British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) Radio, Sheffield, 1980-82; full-time writer, 1983—. Writer-in-residence at Calderdale Libraries, 1985; chair of Arvon Foundation at Lumbank, 1989—; member of Yorkshire Arts Literature Panel.

AWARDS, HONORS: Carnegie Medal, 1986, Burnley/National Provincial Children's Book of the Year Award, 1987, and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, 1988, all for Granny Was a Buffer Girl; award from Television and Film Awards, New York, 1988, for "White Peak Farm"; Carnegie Medal, 1991, and Sankei Award, both for Dear Nobody; Children's Book Award for Snowy; National Association for Special Educational Needs (NASEN) Award, 1995, for The Golden Bird; Carnegie Medal, 1995, for Willa and Old Miss Annie; Oppenheim Gold Seal Award, for The Magical Bicycle; Writers Guild of Great Britain Award, 1997, for Daughter of the Sea; Talkies Award, 1999, for The Water Babies; honorary doctorate, University of Derby, 2002.


Requiem, M. Joseph (London, England), 1991.

The Vinegar Jar, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), 1996.


How Green You Are!, Methuen (London, England), 1982.

The Making of Fingers Finnigan, Methuen (London, England), 1983.

White Peak Farm, Methuen (London, England), 1984, reprinted as Jeannie of White Peak Farm, Puffin (New York, NY), 2003.

Tilly Mint Tales, Methuen (London, England), 1984.

Children of Winter, Methuen (London, England), 1985.

Granny Was a Buffer Girl, Methuen (London, England), 1986.

Tough Luck, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1988.

Paddiwack and Cosy, Methuen (London, England), 1989.

Tilly Mint and the Dodo, Methuen (London, England), 1989.

Spellhorn, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1989.

Dear Nobody, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Old Father Christmas, based on a story by Juliana Horatia Ewing, illustrated by Maria Teresa Meloni, Barron's (New York, NY), 1993.

Snowy, pictures by Keith Bowen, Dial Books (New York, NY), 1993.

Willa and Old Miss Annie, illustrated by Kim Lewis, Candlewick Press, (Cambridge, MA), 1994.

Street Child, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1994.

The Magic Bicycle, illustrated by Christian Birmingham, Crown Publishers (New York, NY), 1995.

The Golden Bird, Heinemann (London, England), 1995.

The Snake-Stone, Orchard Books (New York, NY), 1996.

Walking on Air, Collins (London, England), 1996.

Daughter of the Sea, illustrated by Sian Bailey, DK Publishing (New York, NY), 1997.

Bella's Den, Heinemann (London, England), 1997.

Tales of Wonder and Magic, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1997.

The Midnight Man, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 1998.

Fairy Tales, Candlewick Press (Cambridge, MA), 2000.

The Famous Adventures of Jack, Hodder (London, England), 2000.

The Forsaken Merman, Hodder (London, England), 2000.

The Sailing Ship Tree, Puffin (New York, NY), 2000.

The Snow Queen, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2000.

Holly Starcross, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2001.

Zzaap and the Word Master, BBC Publications (London, England), 2001.

The Nutcracker, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2002.

Blue John, Puffin (New York, NY), 2003.

Coconut Comes to School, Collins (London, England), 2003.

Deep Secret, Puffin (New York, NY), 2003.


The Drowned Village, BBC-Radio 4, 1980.

Requiem, BBC-Radio 4, 1983.

A Case for Probation, BBC-Radio 4, 1983.

The White Bird of Peace, BBC-Radio 4, 1983.

Miss Elizabeth, BBC-Radio 4, 1984.

Fuzzball, BBC-TV 4, 1985.

Sacrifice, BBC-Radio 4, 1985.

The Mouse and His Child (adapted from Russell Hoban's work of the same title), BBC-Radio 4, 1986.

White Peak Farm (serial), BBC-TV 1, 1988.

Children of Winter, BBC-Radio 4, 1988.

Dream of Unicorns, BBC-Radio 4, 1988.

Granny Was a Buffer Girl, BBC-Radio 4, 1990.

There's a Valley in Spain, BBC-Radio 4, 1990.

Dear Nobody, BBC-Radio 5, 1993.

Children of Winter, BBC-TV 4, 1994.

The Snow Queen, BBC-Radio 4, 1994.

Heidi, BBC-Radio 4, 1996.

The Water Babies (radio play), 1999.

Zzaap and the Word Master, BBC-TV 2, 2001.


Howard's Field (one-act), produced in Sheffield, England, 1980.

Smells and Spells (two-act), produced in Sheffield, England, 1980.

A Growing Girl's Story (one-act), produced in Hartlepool, England, 1982.

Rock 'n' Roll Is Here to Stay (one-act), produced in Sheffield, England, 1984.

The Amazing Journey of Jazz O'Neill, produced in Hull, England, 1984.

Return to the Ebro (one-act), produced in Manchester, England, 1985.

Tilly Mint and the Dodo, produced in Doncaster, England, 1986.

A Case for Probation, published in Studio Scripts, edited by David Self, Hutchinson (London, England), 1986.

A Growing Girl's Story, produced in Yorkshire, England, 1989.

Memories, produced in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 1992.

The Sleeping Beauty, produced in Stoke-on-Trent, England, 1993.

Who Wants Gold (two-act), produced in Newcastle-under-Lyme, England, 1993.

Also author of short stories for British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) Radio 4 and BBC-Radio Sheffield; author of numerous series for local radio. Work represented in anthologies, including School Poems, Oxford University Press, 1986; How Green You Are!, published in Drama 1, edited by John Foster, Macmillan (London, England), 1987; Matthew, Come Home, published in Drama 2, edited by John Foster, Macmillan (London, England), 1987; Tribute to Tom, published in Drama 3, edited by John Foster, Macmillan (London, England), 1988; Home, published in Stage Write, edited by Gervase Phinn, Unwin Hyman (London, England), 1988; Best Short Stories 1989. Contributor to magazines and newspapers, including Arts Yorkshire, Times Educational Supplement, Stand, and Critical Quarterly.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Daughters of the Sea: Opera Libretto, and Oxford Book of Bible Stories.

SIDELIGHTS: Berlie Doherty's works range from picture books such as Paddiwak and Cosy to adult novels like Requiem and The Vinegar Jar. However, she is probably best known for her award-winning books for young adults. Doherty has twice received Great Britain's prestigious Carnegie Medal, in 1986 for Granny Was a Buffer Girl, a generational portrait of a family living near Sheffield, England, and in 1991 for Dear Nobody, about the way two teenagers react to an unplanned pregnancy. Magpies contributor Agnes Nieuwenhuizen, in an interview with the author, listed some of the major themes in Doherty's books: "Unlocking the secrets of the past, family and family connections, colour, landscape, domestic detail, the inner life, the search for identity and the precise nature of the bond between mother and child." A critic for Kirkus Reviews commented: "Everything Doherty writes is fresh and enchanting: exquisite language, brimming with love, telling stories all readers want to hear."

Doherty's relationship with her parents provided inspiration for some of her books. She was born in Liverpool, England, on November 6, 1943—in the middle of World War II. Her father worked as a railway clerk and maintained a close relationship with the younger of his two daughters. The author's mother was a more distant figure. "She was nearly forty when I was born, and often ill," Doherty wrote in her Something about the Author Autobiography Series (SAAS) entry. "She died in her mid-seventies, and I always regret the fact that I never really talked to her." "If I have inherited anything from her," the author declared, "it is my love of daydreaming. She loved to sit in the firelight and watch the flickering of flames and the shadows they made on the walls. Years later she gazed at the television set in the same way, watching the flickering patterns there, for hours on end, daydreaming." "My mother was very shy of strangers," Doherty continued, "and would sometimes cross the road rather than have to talk to people when she was out shopping. Yet, as a young woman, she had been an exhibition ballroom dancer. My father put a stop to that because, as she put it, he had two left feet, and the only dancing I ever saw her doing was round the kitchen when she was in a good mood. An old man who had known her as a young woman told me recently that she had always been the life and soul of the party."

"From my father I inherited stories," Doherty explained in SAAS. Although he spent his life as a railway clerk, Walter Alfred Hollingsworth was also a frustrated writer. "When I was a child I remember my father writing," Doherty once recalled in an interview. "He loved writing poetry and short stories so it was always a very familiar and comforting thing to see him typing away on the typewriter in the corner of the room." "My father used to type out my stories and send them in for me (though very soon I learnt how to type for myself)," she concluded in her SAAS entry. "He wanted success for me . . . he was a writer too, in the sense that he loved writing and was compelled to do it."

Doherty spent her earliest years in a public school, but in the 1950s she won a scholarship to a private, Catholic convent school. "At school I was a relatively poor child among many very rich girls," Doherty stated in SAAS. "I had to lose my Liverpool accent in order to survive. I had to keep my nails clean, and have my hair tied back in plaits. And at night, instead of playing out, I had homework to do. To my friends in the street, who all went to a local school, it was the ultimate betrayal. They never forgave me for it." "I loved the chapel," Doherty added, "with its sweet smells of polish and incense and flowers, and the jewelled patterns of light cast by the stained glass windows, the tiptoeings of the nuns as they came and went, the susurrations of their prayers. I must have spent hours there, at peace with myself and daydreaming, and I understand now that it must have looked like prayer, and that my natural love of solitude and introspection must have made me seem a very holy child."

"It must have soon become very clear that I had no vocation to be a nun, because the matter was never referred to again," she continued. "My commitment was to other things." After she was "invited to join the choir, and became the soloist," the author explained, "from then on singing and music became my passion." "I wanted to write, and I wanted to sing," Doherty concluded. "My life has turned out in such a way that it has been possible to do both, and I know how lucky I am, though I never became the singer of my dreams, and my writing had to wait a long time before I put my mind to it properly." Doherty drew on her experiences in the convent school for several books, most notably Requiem, How Green You Are! and The Making of Fingers Finnigan.

Doherty completed her primary education in Liverpool and launched herself on a career as a musician. "I sang as a duo then with a boyfriend and we performed as floor singers in some of the famous Liverpool folk clubs, haunting the footsteps of the Spinners and Liverpool/Irish groups," she stated in SAAS. "This was in the sixties, when folk music was at its height." Even when she went off to the University of Durham she stayed extremely active in music, singing light opera, madrigals, and in choirs. It was at the University of Durham that she met her future husband Gerard Doherty, who shared her interest in music. "We got married when he was still a student in his fourth year. I had gone from Durham to Liverpool to do a postgraduate course," Doherty recalled, "then came to Leicester as a social worker." "We spent every minute of our spare time arranging, learning, rehearsing, and sometimes composing songs," she remembered. "It seems now like another life, something that happened to somebody else."

"And now my life took a huge revolution," Doherty revealed. "I struggled to make independence work, to learn to be an individual." Her marriage to Gerard Doherty in 1966 was followed by a year with Leicester Child Care Services as a child care officer. In 1967 she retired to work at raising her three children. Over the next ten years her marriage began to suffer, and she and her husband eventually separated. "It was the darkest period of my life," Doherty recalled, "and I deeply sympathise with anyone who enters the same black waters. I had months of counseling, and emerged from all that as a writer." "I needed a career, and I needed it to fit in with my children's school hours," she explained. "Teaching was the only thing I could think of." Doherty earned a postgraduate certificate in education in 1978 and began teaching in a Sheffield school system.

Doherty's education certificate revived her interest in writing, and "was interested to see that there was an option to do some creative writing. The tutor asked us to write a 1,500-word story, and he said the subject was to be Black and White. My thoughts flew to the black-and-white habits that the nuns at school had worn." Drawing on her experience in the Catholic girls' school, Doherty "wrote a short story called 'Requiem,' about the death of the nun who had taught singing at my convent school." "Writing it had unlocked something in me, and it was a kind of emotional truth," she revealed. "The story was about coming through a psychological barrier; so had the writing of it been. But also what was important about it was the joy I had felt when I was writing it, as if I was touching some arcane part of my inner life."

The composition of "Requiem" opened new vistas for the author. "The tutor liked the story, and recommended I should try to sell it," Doherty stated. "I was very excited. I showed it to a friend, a playwright, and he said, whatever you do, don't push this back in a drawer." "I had no idea where to send it," she confessed, "but I knew they sometimes broadcast stories on our local radio station, so I took it there." The producer, a man named Dave Sheasby, bought the broadcast rights to the story and requested that Doherty write ten more stories for radio broadcast. "Nothing, in the whole of my writing career, seeing my work on television and on the stage, winning two Carnegie Medals," she concluded, "nothing has given me more joy than that first letter of acceptance gave me."

In 1980 Doherty left the classroom and took the position of schools radio broadcaster. "The two years I spent as a seconded teacher to BBC-Radio Sheffield, for school broadcasts, were invaluable," she once told CA. The stories that she wrote for broadcast were collected in her first two books, How Green You Are! and The Making of Fingers Finnigan. Both are set near Liverpool on Britain's west coast and feature a group of four average teenagers—Bee, Julia, Kevin, and Marie—who live fairly ordinary lives. "Each chapter of [How Green You Are!] is a separate episode," wrote A. Thatcher in the Junior Bookshelf, "but it interlinks into a vividly written and strongly characterized picture of their lives, their friends and relatives, people who live in the street, and their schools."

In the title story of How Green You Are!, Julie repeats Doherty's own experience by winning a scholarship to a rich "snob" Catholic school for girls. At first her friends are angry—they mock her green school uniform—but soon, stated Thatcher, "they find out that she has not changed." In The Making of Fingers Finnigan, the friends join with adults "in an attempt to save the decrepit swimming pool," declared Junior Bookshelf reviewer R. Baines, "and fund raising activities for this project continue intermittently throughout the book." The title episode tells how Julie's little brother Robert gets locked in a local movie house and has to be set free by Finnigan, a local small-time crook. "Bee, Kevin, Julie and the rest of their friends," stated Lucinda Fox in the School Librarian, "could easily be the children you might expect to meet in your own neighborhood."

"Writing for radio determined my style and it is still my favourite medium," Doherty said in a Magpies interview with Nieuwenhuizen. "I learned that each chapter has to work on its own and has to be satisfying as a unit. Clear, strong voices are important too. I started off by asking myself what young people want to find when they go through the door into the secret garden that a writer creates. I decided that maybe what they most wanted to find was themselves, or someone very like themselves, doing the kind of things that they do, or would love to do if they had the chance." In radio, she once revealed, "the writer can go anywhere and so can the listener. The world inside your head is perhaps the greatest—it is obviously the greatest imaginative world there is . . . as long as the language is strong enough and vivid enough that you're going to take your reader with you, you're going to invoke an emotional response and you're going to create the color."

The experiences of young people growing up form the basis for her next two books, White Peak Farm and Children of Winter. They share other elements in common as well. "White Peak Farm is set in nearby Derbyshire, which I love," the author once told CA, "as is Children of Winter, a story of the plague year." Like How Green You Are! and The Making of Fingers Finnigan, White Peak Farm consists of a series of interrelated stories about a farm family. Jeannie Tanner, the young narrator, tells the story of how her family copes with the rhythms of the farm and the problems that arise from everyday life. Jeannie's experiences lead her to the realization "that it is not permanence that is the heart of life," explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "but rather a steady stream of changes, big and small."

"Much of the life of the stories," wrote Times Educational Supplement contributor Geoff Fox, "stems from the tension between the emerging young people and the claims of both the land and a brooding patriarch of a father (not a stock character)." Jeannie's grandmother moves to a hospice for the terminally ill, her sister Kathleen elopes with the son of a neighbor, and her brother Martin chooses art school over the family farm. Finally, Mr. Tanner himself is permanently crippled in an accident involving a tractor and has to surrender control of the farm to his wife. "In the end," concluded Trev Jones in the School Library Journal, "all is not-so-neatly resolved through love and family bonding." The novel, stated Nancy Vasilakis in Horn Book, "is a bittersweet meditation on the effects of people and place on the individual." "The richness of the novel's imagery and thematic content and the finely textured ambiguities of its characterizations," she concluded, "will leave readers with sweet, lingering memories."

Children of Winter differs from White Peak Farm in that it incorporates the fantasy element of time travel. In the story, a family hiking through the countryside is caught in a storm and seeks shelter in an old barn where centuries earlier a couple had sheltered their children to save them from the effects of the plague. When the modern-day children, Catherine, Patsy, and Andrew, are left alone by their parents, time is altered. "The time-slip is made possible," wrote Margery Fisher in Growing Point, "because Catherine Tebbutt is a sensitive, dreamy girl, ready to respond to the influence of the old barn where they shelter from the storm and to the spirit of an earlier Catherine Tebbutt." Catherine and her small brother and sister "emerge to join a sadly depleted village group in celebrating the end of the terror." "The book may serve a two-fold purpose," stated Lucinda Fox in the School Librarian: "for escape reading, or as a vivid picture of what might have happened to a family in plague-stricken England." Doherty also mixes fantasy elements in several later volumes, including her young adult novel Spellhorn and her books for younger readers Tilly Mint Tales and Tilly Mint and the Dodo.

"Granny Was a Buffer Girl reflects the loss of the steel industry of Sheffield, my adopted city," Doherty once told CA, "but is more importantly a book for teenagers about aspects of love: a difficult and essential subject to explore." Like White Peak Farm, it is an intergenerational family story, but the family in question is urban rather than rural. The narrator, Jess, is about to leave home for a year of study in France. She brings her family together and listens to their stories about their love for each other. "In each generation there is love rewarded and love betrayed," wrote a Kirkus Reviews critic: "the contrasts and parallels enrich the meaning of all." Her grandparents Bridie and Jack defy their religious differences when they fall in love and marry in spite of their parents' opposition. Her own parents have to confront the slow sickness and death of Jess's brother Danny, who suffered from a wasting disease.

"Not expecting her to understand him, Grandad Albert tells seventeen-year-old Jess that Love doesn't have much to do with kissing and cuddling," stated School Librarian contributor Dorothy Atkinson. "What it does have to do with is the substance of this story: family loyalties, disappointments, great griefs, and brief, vivid happiness." Her grandmother Dorothy recalls how she worked in Sheffield's world-famous cutlery industry as a "buffer girl," cleaning and polishing silverware. She reveals that, although the factory owner's son had been a suitor, she chose her husband Albert—a common steelworker—because of the timing of his proposal. "Such pieces of distant family folklore, and the more recent death of her young brother," explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "give Jess the courage to embrace changes in her life head-on." The British Library Association honored Granny Was a Buffer Girl with a Carnegie Medal in 1986.

Street Child and Tough Luck return readers to the world of schoolchildren. Street Child is reminiscent of the novels of nineteenth-century novelist Charles Dickens, according to a Publishers Weekly contributor, who noted: "Homelessness is the central topic of this grim and gripping novel set in Victorian England." The book tells the story of Jim Jarvis, an orphan condemned by poverty to wander the streets of London in the 1860s. "Unlike Dickens, Doherty doesn't romanticize Jim's hard times," wrote a Kirkus Reviews critic. "His trials are soberingly realistic, his encounters with those who wish they could help him poignantly brief." Jim's story has a happy ending, however: he is adopted by Thomas John Barnardo, a wealthy Irishman who founded and maintained schools and homes for destitute children in Victorian London. Tough Luck is set in a modern classroom and looks at the problems of several teenage students. The problems are as varied as the student body: Twagger, whose mother is missing and who consistently skips school as a consequence; Sprat, whose mother left home after an unexpected pregnancy; and Nasim, a Pakistani student who had begun to settle in when she was summoned home to complete an arranged marriage. Doherty "refuses to make her adults into easy caricatures," declared Geoff Fox in the Times Educational Supplement. A Junior Bookshelf reviewer praised Tough Luck, noting that the novel, "rooted in experience, is told straightforwardly and with truth."

Doherty won her second Carnegie Medal for Dear Nobody, about two teenagers, Helen and Chris, who conceive a child. The story is told largely from Chris's point of view. He wants to marry Helen, but she has other plans. "I wanted to look seriously and genuinely at love because that's a major part of what being a teenager is about," Doherty once told an interviewer. Helen and Chris learn about themselves and their families in the turmoil that follows. As her pregnancy advances, Helen withdraws from Chris and begins to concentrate on her unborn child, to whom she addresses a series of letters—the "dear nobody" of the title. Chris encounters the mother who deserted him years before; Helen learns that her own mother was born out of wedlock. The two teenagers are reunited after the birth of their daughter. Helen and Chris, Doherty explained, "never totally separate . . . it's a journey towards their own parents. It's a way for them to find out as much as they can about their own parents—to come to an understanding about what parenthood means."

Doherty chose a distinctly individual approach to a problem theme. "I wanted it to speak directly to teenagers about something that is very important to them: love," she stated in SAAS. "Most of all, I wanted to speak to boys. If there is any justification at all in writing and selling books for teenagers it is that it gives them a place to find themselves, the inner, emotional self, taking that exciting and bewildering and sometimes distressing journey towards adulthood." "The subject matter is one that every teenager wonders and worries about," Doherty told Nieuwenhuizen. "How to step away from the familiar territory of childhood and strike out alone. I wanted to write a love story, not a romance. Helen needs to make her own decision. To reach this point, she needs to face a number of trials, overcome a number of obstacles. She was my version of the hero. Her journey is not a cosmic one, but a personal one."

Critics largely celebrated Doherty's accomplishment in Dear Nobody. "Told as a flashback, in some of the loveliest, most lyrical prose to be found in YA fiction," stated School Library Journal contributor Alice Casey Smith, "Helen and Chris narrate the consequences of one night's unprotected passion that changes the course of their lives forever." "Doherty's excellent writing, combined with the unusual dual point of view from the narration and the letters," declared a reviewer in the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, "makes this a richly nuanced examination of a familiar situation." "Doherty realistically depicts two nice young people who care for each other as they struggle to cope with the consequences of their incaution," Booklist reviewer Stephanie Zvirin stated. "While the story outline is all too familiar, Doherty sets her version of it apart by plunging into her characters' emotions in a way that will move you to tears."

Doherty turns to fantasy in the books Daughter of the Sea and The Midnight Man. In Daughter of the Sea, Jannet and Munroe Jaffray find a baby floating in a basket in the sea. But the baby belongs to the seal-folk, and her people want her back. Barbara Harrison in Horn Book found that "the atmosphere comes to life in Doherty's poetic text." The Midnight Man finds a boy and his dog waking each night to follow the Midnight Man, a mysterious stranger who rides horseback through town as he flings the stars into the sky. The stranger leads the pair far out onto the moors, where the moon finds them sleeping and gently carries them to bed. A critic for Publishers Weekly called The Midnight Man "an enigmatic bedtime fantasy," while GraceAnne A. DeCandido in Booklist labeled the story "a magical tale."

In Holly Starcross Doherty tells of a fourteen-year-old girl whose mother has remarried and moved the family from the farm to the big city. Holly must take care of her three step-siblings and try to satisfy her demanding mother. She hates her new life, until her father returns after eight years to take her back. Hazel Rochman in Booklist found that "Doherty writes with urgency and intimate detail about family love and distance, and tension builds to the very last chapter." "Holly's unique voice and her interactions with both parents are touching and memorable," according to a critic for Publishers Weekly. Joanna Rudge Long in Horn Book concluded of the novel: "The relationships here are so nuanced, and the balance between Holly's drastically different worlds so finely tuned, that the outcome remains in doubt until the last page."

"Don't concentrate on one kind of writing," Doherty advised aspiring writers in her Magpies interview, "and write a little bit every day. Writing is rather like learning an instrument. You need to limber up, perhaps by writing in a diary. You need to keep the 'word muscles' going. Every day, something happens that is worth writing about—jot it down." People who want to be authors, she later explained to an interviewer, ought to "write and write and to love writing. To write about anything and everything. To keep a notebook, to make writing part of their daily life whether or not they call it a diary or a journal. To just pour everything out, to keep going back to things. To take an idea that they've written about and bring it out again and rework it—never to think of something as being finished." "I want children to be fascinated or excited or moved by what I write," Doherty stated on her Web site. "But I also want to write about something that matters both to them and to me." "Sometimes children say to me, 'What would you do if you didn't write?' and the answer, now, is that I don't know," Doherty declared in SAAS. "I can't imagine doing anything else."



Carter, James, editor, Talking Books: Children's Authors Talk about the Craft, Creativity, and Process of Writing, Routledge (London, England), 1999.

Children's Literature Review, Volume 21, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1990.

Rosen, Michael, and Jill Burridge, editors, Treasure Islands 2, BBC Publications (London, England), 1993.

Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 16, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1993.

Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, 3rd edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1989.


Booklist, October 1, 1992, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Dear Nobody, p. 329; May 15, 1998, Julie Corsaro, review of Tales of Wonder and Magic, p. 1625; February 15, 1999, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Midnight Man, p. 1074; August, 1999, Shelley Townsend-Hudson, review of Paddiwak and Cozy, p. 2063; November 15, 2000, Hazel Rochman, review of Fairy Tales, p. 640; October 1, 2001, GraceAnne A. DeCandido, review of The Famous Adventures of Jack, p. 318; November 1, 2002, Hazel Rochman, review of Holly Starcross, p. 484.

Books for Keeps, June, 1987, p. 3; July, 1987, p. 11.

British Council News, July-August, 2002, Don Watson, "The Sound of Enjoyment."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, March, 1988, p. 133; January, 1993, review of Dear Nobody, p.143; March, 1996, p. 224.

Growing Point, May, 1985, Margery Fisher, review of Children of Winter, p. 4432.

Horn Book, August, 1987, p. 177; May-June, 1988; July-August, 1990, Nancy Vasilakis, review of White Peak Farm, pp. 461-462; May-June, 1996, p. 339; November-December, 1997, Barbara Harrison, review of Daughter of the Sea, p. 679; September-October, 2002, Joanna Rudge Long, review of Holly Starcross, p. 569.

Junior Bookshelf, December, 1983, R. Baines, review of The Making of Fingers Finnigan, p. 242; December, 1984, p. 254.

Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1988, review of Granny Was a Buffer Girl, p. 53; August 15, 1992, p. 1059; October 15, 1994, review of Street Child, p. 1406; August 15, 2002, review of Holly Starcross, p. 1221.

Publishers Weekly, January 29, 1988, review of Granny Was a Buffer Girl, p. 431; March 30, 1990, review of White Peak Farm, p. 63; September 7, 1992, p. 97; September 19, 1994, review of Street Child, p. 71; June 24, 1996, p. 46; December 14, 1998, review of The Midnight Man, p. 75; March 27, 2000, review of Daughter of the Sea, p. 83; September 25, 2000, review of Fairy Tales, p. 117; September 30, 2002, review of Holly Starcross, p. 72.

School Librarian, December, 1984; November, 1989, p. 159; November, 1993, p. 162.

School Library Journal, March, 1990, Trev Jones, review of White Peak Farm, pp. 234-235; October, 1992, Alice Casey Smith, review of Dear Nobody, p. 140; July, 1998, Pam Gosner, review of Tales of Wonder and Magic, p. 104; November 1, 1998, John Peters, review of The Midnight Man, p. 83; October, 1999, Kathleen Staerkel, review of Paddiwak and Cozy, p. 112; October, 2000, Nina Lindsay, review of Fairy Tales, p. 182; September, 2001, Diane Balodis, review of The Famous Adventures of Jack, p. 73; January, 2002, Susan M. Moore, review of The Famous Adventures of Jack, p. 117; August, 2002, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of Holly Starcross, p. 183.

Spectator, December 11, 1993, pp. 45-46.

Times Educational Supplement, September 7, 1984, Geoff Fox, review of White Peak Farm, p. 29; January 18, 1985; February 13, 1987, p. 48; November 11, 1988; September 1-7, 1989, p. 957.

Times Literary Supplement, December 16, 1988, p. 1406; September 1, 1989.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 1988, p. 84; October, 1990, p. 216; June, 1996, pp. 94-95.


Berlie Doherty Web site, (November 7, 2003).

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Doherty, Berlie 1943-

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