Rosemary Sutcliff spent a limited time in formal school education, but it did not hinder her in becoming what The Guardian newspaper called on her death ‘a writer of genius’.
I didn’t go to school for a very long time because of traipsing around so much. My mother used to educate me herself, chiefly by just reading to me the books that she liked. (But I did go to school, and I’ve always been very thankful that I went to an ordinary school, I never got incarcerated with other disabled children).
(But) chiefly I had books read to me, which is a thing I love to this day. I didn’t learn to read for myself until I was very old. Me and Kipling, we were both nine before we could read: I think in my case this was because my mother read aloud to me so much, and this I loved very very much.
I left school, which one could do at fourteen in those days, and put in three years at art school. I did the general art course—painting in oils and water-colours and making charcoal drawings of the Apollo Belvedere from the north, south, east, and west!
I had not written as a child, I had not written stories. I wasn’t at all writing-minded at school.
- Source: Original recording of Desert Islands Discs interview in the BBC Archives; transcripts at http://sutcliff-talk.livejournal.com .