Pearce, Philippa 1920-2006

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Pearce, Philippa 1920-2006

(Ann Philippa Christie)

OBITUARY NOTICE— See index for CA sketch: Born January 23, 1920, in Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire, England; died December 21, 2006. Editor and author. Pearce was an award-winning children’s book author famous for her classic 1958 tale, Tom’s Midnight Garden. Educated at Girton College, Cambridge, where she studied English and history and earned a master’s degree in 1942, she then joined the British Civil Service. After World War II, however, she pursued a more pleasurable career as a writer and producer for the school broadcasting department at the British Broadcasting Corporation. While still working for the BBC, she released her first children’s title, Minnow on the Say (1954), which was published in the United States four years later as The Minnow Leads to Treasure. Though it earned a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, the success of this book was nothing compared to Tom’s Midnight Garden, a fantasy tale that touched the hearts of millions. It was translated in versions all over the world and adapted several times to television. As with its predecessor, it won another Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, but, in addition, a Carnegie Medal. The popularity of the book was such that Pearce quit her job at the BBC, returning only to part-time work in 1960. She had also worked as an editor in the education department at Clarendon Press for a year, and from 1960 to 1967 she was the editor of children’s books for Andre Deutsch. Pearce would publish many more children’s tales over the next four decades, including the Whitbread Award-winning The Battle of Bubble and Squeek (1978). Among her other works are What the Neighbours Did, and Other Stories (1972), A Picnic for Bunnykins (1984), Children of Charlecote (1989), The Little White Hen (1986), and the more recent The Ghost in Annie’s Room (2000), The Peddler of Swaffham (2001), Familiar and Haunting Collected Stories (2002), and Little Gentleman (2004). Named to the Order of the British Empire for her literary contributions, she reflected on her childhood in the privately printed autobiography Logbook (2000).



Pearce, Philippa, Logbook, privately printed, 2000.


Times (London, England), December 21, 2006.

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Pearce, Philippa 1920-2006

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