Rosemary Sutcliff Historical Novels and the North-East of England

Books by historical novelist Rosemary Sutcliff that feature the North East of England include The Eagle of the Ninth and Frontier Wolf.

One Alan Myers once compiled an ‘A to Z of the many writers of the past who had a significant connection’ with the North-East of England. It seems now to have disappeared from the web . He writes of Rosemary Sutcliff:

“One of the most distinguished children’s writers of our times, Rosemary Sutcliff wrote over thirty books , some of them now considered classics. She sets several of her best-known works in Roman and Dark Age Britain, giving her the opportunity to write about divided loyalties, a recurring theme. The Capricorn Bracelet comprises six linked short stories spanning the years AD 61 to AD 383, and Hadrian’s Wall features in the narrative.

The Eagle of the Ninth (1954) is perhaps her finest work and exemplifies the psychological dilemmas that Rosemary Sutcliff brought to her novels. It is a quest story involving a journey north to the land of the Picts to recover the lost standard of the Roman Ninth Legion. A good part of the book is set in the North East around Hadrian’s Wall (a powerful symbol) and a map is provided. The book has been televised, and its sequels are The Silver Branch (1957) and The Lantern Bearers (1959), which won the Carnegie medal. Sutcliff returned to the Romano-British frontier in The Mark of the Horse Lord (1965) and Frontier Wolf (1980).

Northern Britain in the sixth century AD is the setting of The Shining Company (1990), a retelling of The Goddodin (v. Aneirin) a tragedy of epic proportions. The story, however, is seen from the point of view of the shield-bearers, not the lords eulogised in The Goddodin, and treats themes of loyalty, courage and indeed political fantasy.”

Rosemary Sutcliff commended and highly commended for The Carnegie Medal for The Eagle of the Ninth, The Shield Ring, The Silver Branch, and Tristan and Iseult

In earlier times The Carnegie Medal used to have “commended” and “highly commended” books each year, as well as a winner—I do not think it does now.

Rosemary Sutcliff was awarded the medal in 1959 for The Lantern Bearers. But she was several times commended too. In:

1954 for The Eagle of the Ninth
1956 for The Shield Ring
1957 for The Silver Branch

And highly commended in:

1971 for Tristan and Iseult

 

Chronicler of Occupied Brittania | Rosemary Sutcliff’s life and work | Obituary from The Guardian newspaper

Let us not be solemn about the death of Rosemary Sutcliff CBE, who has died suddenly, aged 72, despite the progressively wasting Still’s disease that had been with her since the age of two. She was impish, almost irreverent sometimes, in her approach to life. Her favourite author was Kipling and she once told me she had a great affection for The Elephant’s Child – because his first action with his newly acquired trunk was to spank his insufferably interfering relations.

But it was Kipling’s deep communion with the Sussex countryside and its history that was her true inspiration. Settled as an adult in Arundel, Rosemary shared with him his love for his county as well as his vision of successive generations living in and leaving their mark upon the landscape.

Rosemary Sutcliff, at the peak of her form in her ‘Roman’ novels, was without doubt an historical writer of genius, and recognised internationally as such. Continue reading “Chronicler of Occupied Brittania | Rosemary Sutcliff’s life and work | Obituary from The Guardian newspaper”

Longlist announced for The Carnegie (Children’s Book) Medal for 2014 | Rosemary Sutcliff was winner in 1957 and runner-up in 1972

Nominations were announced today for the Carnegie Medal for 2014. The Chartered institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) claims (correctly!) that it is one of the “most prestigious prizes in writing … for children”, but regretfully I have read none of this year’s nominees – yet! The medal is awarded annually by children’s librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people. The press release from CILIP recalls that “previous winners of the medal include Sally Gardener, Patrick Ness, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and C.S. Lewis”.

Rosemary Sutcliff was awarded the medal in 1957 for her historical novel The Lantern Bearers. She was short-listed again in 1972 for Tristan and Iseult .

Source: The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards – Press Release 

1959 Carnegie Medal awarded to Rosemary Sutcliff for historical novel The Lantern Bearers

The Carnegie Medal for 2013  is awarded today. The Medal is awarded every year in the UK to the writer of an outstanding book for children. (2013 shortlist here).

The eminent Rosemary Sutcliff  (1920-92) won the (former) Library Association Carnegie Medal in 1959 for her historical novel for children The Lantern Bearers (she wrote for children”aged 8 to 88″, she said).  She was runner-up with Tristan and Iseult in 1972.  Continue reading “1959 Carnegie Medal awarded to Rosemary Sutcliff for historical novel The Lantern Bearers”

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