Jill Paton Walsh

Literary Birthday – 29 April – Jill Paton Walsh


Happy Birthday, Jill Paton Walsh, born 29 April 1937

Jill Paton Walsh Quotes

  1. Being a writer usually entails a fairly quiet life. However much travel one might do, however many tours and appearances, the job entails solitude: long hours in libraries, long hours at a desk.
  2. The protagonist of folktale is always, and intensely, a young person moving through ordeals into adult life. . . . and this is why there are no wicked stepchildren in the tales.
  3. The position of a reader in a book is very like that occupied by angels in the world, when angels still had any credibility. Yours is, like theirs, a hovering, gravely attentive presence, observing everything, from whom nothing is concealed, for angels are very bright mirrors. Hearts and minds are as open as the landscape to their view, as to yours; like them you are in the fabled world invisible.
  4. I think that novels are tools of thought. They are moral philosophy with the theory left out, with just the examples of the moral situations left standing.
  5. It is only grown-ups who want children to be children; children themselves always want to be real people.
  6. There is nothing more important than writing well for the young, if literature is to have a continuance … They will inherit the earth; and nothing that we value will endure in the world unless they can be persuaded to value it too.
  7. If you tell someone a secret, and ask them to keep it secret, you are asking them to display a discretion you are unable to display yourself.

Jill Paton Walsh is an English novelist and children’s writer. She is well known for the Peter Wimsey–Harriet Vane mysteries that have continued the work of Dorothy Sayers. She won the Book World Festival Award, 1970, for Fireweed; the Whitbread Prize, 1974 for The Emperor’s Winding Sheet; The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award 1976 for Unleaving; The Universe Prize, 1984 for A Parcel of Patterns; and the Smarties Grand Prix, 1984, for Gaffer Samson’s Luck.

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by Amanda Patterson

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