King, (David) Clive 1924-

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KING, (David) Clive 1924-

PERSONAL: Born April 24, 1924, in Richmond, Surrey, England; married Jane Tuke, 1948 (divorced, 1974); married Penelope Timmins, 1974; children: two daughters (one from each marriage), one son. Education: Downing College, Cambridge, B.A., 1948; attended School of Oriental and African Studies (London, England), 1966-67.

ADDRESSES: Home—Norfolk, England. Agent—Caroline Walsh, David Highham Associates, 5-8 Lower John St., London W1F 9HA, England.

CAREER: British Council, administrative officer in Amsterdam, Netherlands, 1948-50; student welfare officer in Belfast, Ireland, 1950-51; lecturer in Aleppo, Syria, 1951-54; visiting professor in Damascus, Syria, 1954-55; lecturer and director of studies in Beirut, Lebanon, 1960-66; education advisor for East Pakistan Education Centre in Dacca, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), 1967-71; and education officer in Madaras, India, 1971-73. East Sussex County Council, Rye, England, warden, 1955-60; author, 1973—. Military service: Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve, 1943-46, became sub-lieutenant.

AWARDS, HONORS: Guardian commended notation, 1977, and Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book for Fiction, 1980, for Me and My Million.


Hamid of Aleppo, Macmillan (London, England), 1958.

The Town That Went South, illustrated by Maurice Bartlett, Macmillan (London, England, and New York, NY), 1959.

Stig of the Dump, Penguin (Harmondsworth, England), 1963, American edition illustrated by Edward Ardizzone, Penguin (New York, NY), 1993.

The Twenty-two Letters, decorations by Richard Kennedy, Hamilton (London, England), 1966.

The Night the Water Came, Longman Young (Harmondsworth, England), 1973, Crowell (New York, NY), 1982.

Snakes and Snakes, illustrated by Richard Kennedy, Kestrel (Harmondsworth, England), 1975.

Me and My Million, Kestrel Books (Harmondsworth, England), 1976, Crowell (New York, NY), 1979.

The Devil's Cut, illustrated by Val Biro, Hodder & Stoughton (London, England), 1978.

Ninny's Boat, illustrated by Ian Newsham, Kestrel (Harmondsworth, England), 1980, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1981.

The Birds from Africa, illustrated by Diana Groves, Macdonald Educational (London, England), Silver Burdett (Morristown, NJ), 1980.

The Sound of Propellors, illustrated by David Parkins, Viking (London, England), 1986.

The Seashore People, Viking Kestrel (Harmondsworth, England), 1987.

(Compiler) Adventure Stories, illustrated by Brian Walker, Kingfisher Books (London, England), 1988, (New York, NY), 1993.

A Touch of Class, Bodley Head (London, England), 1995.


Accident, illustrated by Jacqueline Atkinson, Benn (London, England), 1976.

First Day Out, illustrated by Jacqueline Atkinson, Benn (London, England), 1976.

The Secret, illustrated by Jacqueline Atkinson, Benn (London, England), 1976.

Highjacks, Lowjacks, illustrated by Jacqueline Atkinson, Benn (London, England), 1976.


Poles Apart, produced in London, England, 1975.

The World of Light, produced in London, England, 1976.

Get the Message, produced in London, England, 1987.

Also author of Good Snakes, Bad Snakes, a television play, 1977.

ADAPTATIONS: Stig of the Dump was adapted for audio in 1988 and reissued in an abridged format in 1999 by Puffin (Harmondsworth, England). It was also dramatized for television by the British Broadcasting Corporation, 2002.

SIDELIGHTS: Clive King has drawn on his experiences in far-flung regions of the world to create what have become classics of children's literature, according to reviewers. In particular, his novel Stig of the Dump has continued to attract readers, many years after its original publication in 1963. Stig of the Dump follows the story of Barney, an eight-year-old lad, who discovers Stig, a Stone Age man, living in the chalk pit the townspeople have been using as a dump. Stig is very inventive in finding uses for the things towns-people have been throwing away. Marcus Croch reviewed the book's initial publication for Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, noting that the "initial concept is brilliant." The book continued to garner praise upon its republication in 1993. Junior Bookshelf reviewer Marcus Crouch remarked, "the joy evoked by the story is as great as it was thirty years ago."

Some of King's other books for young readers that explore fantastic situations include The Town That Went South and Me and My Million. In The Town That Went South, King describes the reactions of the people of Ramsly when their town comes adrift from the land and carries them off to various adventures. A Times Literary Supplement reviewer called the book "a brilliantly ingenious piece of escapism for intelligent readers between ten and one hundred." Me and My Million tells the more realistic story of Ringo, an amoral young thief who cannot read, who helps his brother steal a valuable painting. Ringo's inability to read such things as street signs leads to a series of misadventures over the course of the story. Jane Powell of the Times Literary Supplement noted that the book is "written in a very colloquial style with . . . zip and verve."

Critics have noted King's ability to portray interesting historical situations and ideas in his novels. His tales provide readers with a grounding in history, myths and legends, and geography. For example, in The Twenty-two Letters, he tells of the invention of the modern alphabet in what Stephanie Nettell described as a "cunningly plotted" and "splendid novel" in her Times Literary Supplement review. Similarly, Ninny's Boat, "King's most ambitious novel," according to Twentieth-Century Children's Writers contributor Marcus Crouch, takes place in the Dark Ages. It revolves around the plight of Ninny, a slave of the Angles, a tribe living in what is now Denmark, who plan to take a boat in search of a new land. Through his resourcefulness and his friendship with Offa (who is leading the voyage), Ninny earns a place in the boat. When the Angles invade what was to become Britain, Ninny undertakes many adventures and discovers that he himself is a Briton. "Ninny's Boat is a big story about great events and with big ideas behind it," commented Crouch in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, "but it is presented in human terms with life-sized people." Horn Book's Paul Heins also praised the work for its "exciting narrative [that] is full of humorous wordplay, and the clever" use of historical elements.



Twentieth-Century Children's Writers, 4th edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1995.


Books for Keeps, March, 2002, Christopher Roberts, review of Stig of the Dump, p. 16.

Growing Point, January, 1987, review of The Sound of Propellors, pp. 4732-4735.

Horn Book, February, 1980; April, 1982, Paul Heins, review of Ninny's Boat, p. 165.

Instructor and Teacher, May, 1982, Allan Yeager, review of The Night the Water Came, p. 105.

Junior Bookshelf, December, 1987, review of The Seashore People, pp. 275-276; February, 1994, Marcus Crouch, review of Stig of the Dump, p. 33.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1982, review of The Night the Water Came, pp. 418-419.

New Statesman, May 25, 1973; May 21, 1976; November 21, 1980.

Newsweek, December 17, 1979.

New York Herald Tribune Book Review, June 8, 1958.

New York Times Book Review, March 28, 1982.

Observer (London, England), November 26, 1967; December 12, 1976; November 30, 1986.

School Librarian, August, 1987, Joanna McClatchey, review of The Sound of Propellors, p. 254; May, 1988, Chris Stephenson, review of The Seashore People, p. 56; May, 1989, J. Lavis, review of Adventure Stories, p. 75.

School Library Journal, May, 1982, review of The Night the Water Came, p. 64; April, 1993, Kenneth E. Lowen, review of Adventure Stories, p. 143.

Times Literary Supplement, May 20, 1960; November 30, 1967; June 15, 1973; April 2, 1976; November 28, 1986, Stephanie Nettell, review of The Twenty-two Letters, p. 1347; October 23, 1987.

Young Reader's Review, June, 1967.*

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King, (David) Clive 1924-

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