Toksvig, Sandi 1958-
Toksvig, Sandi 1958-
Born May 3, 1958, in Denmark; daughter of Claus Bertel and Julie Anne Toksvig; partner of Peta (Petaline; separated); partner of Alice Arnold; children: (first partnership) Jesse, Megan, Teddy. Education: Girton College, Cambridge, M.A. Hobbies and other interests: Skiing.
Home—London, England. Agent—PFD, Drury House, 34-43 Russell St., London WC2B 5HA, England.
Writer, playwright, children's author, comic, performer, actor, and television presenter. Nottingham Repertory Theatre, Nottingham, England, 1980-81; New Shakespeare Company, London, England, 1981; Comedy Store Players, London, 1987-1993. Writer and performer on British television programs and series, including Number 73, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, Behind the Headlines, The Big One, Sindy Hits Thirty, The Talking Show, Call My Bluff, Island Race, News Quiz, I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, and Great Journeys. Performer on radio programs, including Loose Ends, BBC Radio 4, Pick of the Week, BBC Radio 4, 1993, Sound Company, BBC Radio 4, 1995, Darling You Were Marvelous, BBC Radio 4, 1996, Excess Baggage, BBC Radio 4, 2002—, and The Sandi Toksvig Show, LBC, 2003-05.
Therese Montefiore Memorial Award; Raemakers Prize.
If I Didn't Have Elbows …: The Alternative Body Book, illustrated by David Melling, De Agostini Children's Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Unusual Boy, Corgi Pups (London, England), 1996.
Supersaver Mouse, Corgi Pups (London, England), 1998.
Supersaver Mouse to the Rescue, Corgi Pups (London, England), 1999.
Whistling for the Elephants, Bantam Press (London, England), 1999.
The Troublesome Tooth Fairy, Corgi Pups (London, England), 2000).
Hitler's Canary, Roaring Brook Press (New Milford, CT), 2007.
(With Nick Symons) No. 73, forty-one episodes, TVS Television, 1982-1988.
(With Nick Symons) Kin of the Castle, British Broadcasting Corporation, 1987.
(With Elly Brewer) The Big One, six episodes, Hat Trick Productions, 1992.
(With Joolz and Nick Symons) "Once in a Lifetime," Comedy Playhouse, forty-one episodes, Noel Gay Television, 1993.
(With Elly Brewer) The Pocket Dream (produced at Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham, England, 1991), S. French (New York, NY), 1992.
Big Night Out at the Little Sands Picture Palace, produced at Nottingham Playhouse, 1993.
Big Night Out at the Little Palace Theatre, produced at Watford Palace Theatre, London, England, 2002.
(With John McCarthy) Island Race: An Improbable Voyage round the Coast of Britain, (travel), photographs by Tom Owen Edmunds, BBC Books (London, England), 1995.
Flying under Bridges (novel), Little, Brown (London, England), 2001.
The Gladys Society: A Personal American Journey, Little, Brown (London, England), 2002, published as The Gladys Reunited: A Personal American Journey (memoir), Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2002.
The Travels of Lady "Bulldog" Burton (humor), illustrated by Sandy Nightingale, Little, Brown (London, England), 2002.
Melted into Air (novel), Little, Brown (London, England), 2008.
Contributor to Good Housekeeping (British edition) and the Sunday Telegraph (London, England).
Sandi Toksvig is a playwright, television performer, and comic. Though most of the Danish actor's work has been seen in Great Britain, Toksvig may be best known in the United States for her appearances on Whose Line Is It, Anyway?, a British television program that enjoyed a long life in reruns on the Comedy Central network airing in the United States. She has appeared as a performer in many British comedies and television series, as a presenter on television and radio programs, and as a contestant on several British game shows. Toksvig has been a regular writer on Island Race, a TV program, and Loose Ends, a radio show, and is well known as a children's show host in England. She also had her own radio program, The Sandi Toksvig Show, from 2003 to 2005. Toksvig is also noted as a founding member of the British improvisational troupe, the Comedy Story Players.
Toksvig's early education included six years at Mamaroneck High School in New York. It was there that she developed her deep love for performing and for the theater. She was also one of a group of thirteen close friends who referred to themselves as the Gladys Society. Later, Toksvig attended Girton College at Cambridge University, where she studied law with the goal of becoming a human rights lawyer. She was successful academically and continued to be involved with the stage before graduating with a first-class degree in law.
In The Gladys Reunited: A Personal American Journey, published in England as The Gladys Society: A Personal American Journey, Toksvig takes a journey of reminiscence as she returns to the United States to find out what happened to the eleven other members of the Gladys Society that had been so important to her during her teenage years. She relates the origins of the group in a stage production of Thornton Wilder's play The Skin of Our Teeth, in which Toksvig and two other girls were selected to portray the lead character, Gladys Antrobus. Eventually, the Gladys Society grew to encompass twelve young women. In searching out her old friends, Toksvig reconnects with the United States, where she spent many of her formative years.
Hitler's Canary is a historical novel for young adult readers. In the book, which is based on her father's experiences during World War II, Toksvig recounts the difficulties faced in Denmark after the Germans invaded in 1940. Ten-year-old Bamse is the son of Marie, a famous stage actress. The boy and his family face a dramatically changed life after the Germans' arrival. His father initially believes that docile cooperation with the Germans is the best course of action, while his uncle Johann joins with the Nazi sympathizers, believing that direct involvement with the invaders will afford him the best chance of survival. Bamse and his sixteen-year-old brother Orlando, however, are unwilling to remain passive. Despite the danger, they devise ways to resist the occupying Germans. When it becomes obvious that Danish Jews are in grave danger, Bamse's entire family becomes involved in the resistance, helping Jewish friends to hide and escape to safety in Sweden. Eventually, Bamse's family, and many of their Danish neighbors, realize they cannot remain "Hitler's canary," a country and a people stifled by inaction who are willing to "sing" anytime the Fuehrer wants. Throughout the novel, "it is Bamse's growing courage and deepening understanding that drive the story," remarked Booklist reviewer Anne O'Malley.
With this novel, "Toksvig offers a spellbinding look at a part of history that is rarely fictionalized," stated a Kirkus Reviews critic. Toksvig's "tale of courage in the face of tyranny sheds light on the difficult choices facing the Danish people and pays tribute to resisters," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer. "Denmark's story is one of the few positive ones that came out of that terrible period of persecution—and Toksvig tells Bamse's story well," observed Claire Rosser in Kliatt. School Library Journal contributor Rita Soltan called the novel "readable, intriguing, and realistic, with a good epilogue and author's note appended."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2007, Anne O'Malley, review of Hitler's Canary, p. 106.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, December 1996, review of If I Didn't Have Elbows …: The Alternative Body Book, p. 154; July 1, 2007, Hope Morrison, review of Hitler's Canary, p. 487.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2007, review of Hitler's Canary.
Kliatt, May, 2007, Claire Rosser, review of Hitler's Canary, p. 21.
Magpies, September, 2005, Rayma Turton, review of Hitler's Canary, p. 39.
New Scientist, November 16, 1996, review of If I Didn't Have Elbows …, p. 54.
Publishers Weekly, March 12, 2007, review of Hitler's Canary, p. 58.
School Librarian, February, 1997, review of If I Didn't Have Elbows …, p. 22.
School Library Journal, November, 1996, Christine A. Moesch, review of If I Didn't Have Elbows …, p. 102; April, 2007, Rita Soltan, review of Hitler's Canary, p. 149.
Science Books & Films, August, 1997, review of If I Didn't Have Elbows….
Times Educational Supplement, July 29, 2005, Linda Newbery, "Voices from the Past," review of Hitler's Canary, p. 26.
Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2007, Stacey Hayman, review of Hitler's Canary, p. 57.
Knitting Circle,http://www.knittingcircle.co.uk/ (March 17, 2008), author profile.
On the Shelf,http://undermindbooks.blogspot.com/ (August 19, 2006), review of Hitler's Canary.