Gillian Avery

Gillian Avery (1926- ) began her career as a journalist for the Surrey Post in Reigate, Surrey, where she was born. She went to Oxford in 1950 to work for the Clarendon Press, deciding that the pace of book publication was more pleasant than that of journalism. She married a don, Anthony Cockshut, in 1952, and when they relocated to Manchester, she was so homesick for Oxford that she set her first novel, The Warden's Niece (1957), in an Oxford college in Victorian times, finding an kinship between her own pre-war generation and the Victorian kid, defined by a meek acceptance of the adult world's dominance. After she returned to Oxford in 1964, she continued to write novels, notably A Likely Lad, a novel set in Manchester that won the Guardian award for children's fiction in 1971 and was successfully produced into a children's television serial. Gillian Avery is also a well-known children's book reviewer and historian. Behold the Child: American Children and Their Literature, 1621-1922 and The Everyman Anthology of Poetry for Children are her two most recent books.