Born in Hull in 19222, John Bell – one time editor at OUP, who died aged 85 in 2008 – was instrumental in helping the career of Rosemary Sutcliff, as he was for leading post-war children’s authors such as William Mayne, Philippa Pearce and Rosemary Sutcliff.
He went to Oxford University, but while he was still an undergraduate World War II started. After the war ended, he returned to Oxford and graduated in 1948. He joined the children’s book team at Oxford University Press, based in London, and was responsible for Rosemary Sutcliff’s early books.
In 1956, he transferred to the publisher’s literary team. In the mid-80s, when he retired he set up a press of his own at his home cottage at Wootton-by-Woodstock – the Backwater Press . He published several little items from or for Rosemary Sutcliff.
Sources: Yorkshire Post, February 23, 2008; The Times (London), February 18, 2008.