Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Jane Gardam (c.NZ593251)

Jane Gardam is one of the most famous natives of Coatham, having been born in the town on 11th July 1928 – and still very much alive as I write. Gardam is known for her works of both children’s and adult fiction, and also pops up occasionally in The Spectator and The Telegraph as well as penning works for radio.

She was born as Jean Mary Pearson and educated at Saltburn High School for Girls and, subsequently, at the University of London where she read English. In 1951, she worked as a librarian, travelling between hospitals; then took up editorial posts at, firstly, Weldon Ladies Journal (1952) and Time and Tide (1952-4). After her marriage to David Gardam in 1954, she dedicated her time almost exclusively to raising her three children, enduring lengthy and often difficult absences by her husband who was working abroad. She didn’t take up writing in earnest until the late 1960s

From 1971, the published works began to appear – for both children and adults, as well as short stories. Her first adult novel was God on the Rocks in 1978, which enjoyed great critical acclaim. She won two Whitbread Awards (The Hollow Land and The Queen of the Tambourine, in 1981 and 1991, respectively), together with a host of other honours and nominations (including a Booker Prize shortlisting for God on the Rocks). She was appointed an OBE in 2009, and currently lives between her homes in the south-east and Yorkshire.

Fittingly, her one non-fiction work is the appropriately-named The Iron Coast (1994), recalling the days of her youth in and around Coatham.

In case you don’t know what she looks like, try here – though she’s a good deal older now.

No comments:

Post a Comment