Fuzzypeg Goes To School Alison Uttley Bibliography

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Alison Uttley
Litt.D.
BornAlice Jane Taylor
(1884-12-17)17 December 1884
Cromford, Derbyshire, England
Died7 May 1976(1976-05-07) (aged 91)
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England[1]
MonumentsBlue plaque
Residence13 Higher Downs, Bowdon, Cheshire, England
Education
Alma materManchester University
Hughes Hall, Cambridge
Occupation
Notable workLittle Grey Rabbit
Spouse(s)James Uttley (m. 1911; d. 1930)
Children1
AwardsHonoraryDoctor of Letters, Manchester University

Alison Uttley (17 December 1884 – 7 May 1976), néeAlice Jane Taylor, was a British writer of over 100 books. She is best known for a children's series about Little Grey Rabbit and Sam Pig. She is also remembered for a pioneering time slip novel for children, A Traveller in Time, about the imprisoned Mary, Queen of Scots.

Life[edit]

Born in Cromford and brought up in rural Derbyshire, she was educated at the Lea School in Holloway and the Lady Manners School in Bakewell, where she developed a love for science which led to a scholarship to Manchester University to read physics. In 1906 she became the second woman honours graduate of the university and she made a lifetime friendship with the charismatic Professor Samuel Alexander.[2]

After leaving university, she trained as a teacher in Cambridge and in 1908 took up a post as physics teacher at Fulham Secondary School for Girls in West London. Around 1910, she was living at The Old Vicarage in King Street in Knutsford. In 1911 she married James Arthur Uttley, and in 1914 had her only child, John Corin Taylor. James Uttley was prone to depression and drowned himself in the River Mersey in 1930.[2]

From 1924 to 1938[2] the Uttleys lived at Downs House, 13 Higher Downs, Bowdon, Cheshire, which now has a blue plaque marking the association. In 1938 she moved to Beaconsfield, where Enid Blyton was a neighbour whom she came greatly to dislike,[2] describing her as a boastful and "vulgar, curled woman".[3] She also quarrelled bitterly with her best known illustrator, Margaret Tempest.

Writing career[edit]

In later life Uttley said that she began writing to support herself and her son financially after she was widowed, but in fact her first book was published in 1929 before her husband's death. Uttley recorded that one inspiration was a meeting in 1927 with Professor Alexander at a painting exhibition in Altrincham at which he confused her with another ex-student and asked if she was still writing.[2] Her first books were a series of tales about animals, including Little Grey Rabbit, The Little Red Fox, Sam Pig and Hare. She later wrote for older children and adults, particularly focusing on rural topics, notably in The Country Child (1931), a fictionalized account of her childhood experiences at her family farm home, Castletop, near Cromford.

One of her most popular works is A Traveller in Time (1939). Based on the Babington Plot of Anthony Babington at Dethick, near her family home, this romance mixes dream and historical fact in a story about a 20th-century girl who is transported to the 16th century, becoming involved in a plot to free Mary, Queen of Scots from nearby Wingfield Manor. Uttley later settled in Beaconsfield, in a house named Thackers after the house in the book. In January 1978 BBC TV showed the five-part series A Traveller in Time based on Uttley's story. It starred 15-year-old newcomer Sophie Thompson and then rising star Simon Gipps-Kent.

In 1970 the University of Manchester awarded Uttley an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters in recognition of her literary work.

In 2009 her private diaries were published,[4] and she has been the subject of two biographies.[2][5]

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References[edit]

External links[edit]

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