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Vivien (Dolores) Alcock (1924-2003) Biography


OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for SATA sketch: Born September 23, 1924, in Worthing, Sussex, England; died October 11, 2003, in London, England. Author. Alcock was a bestselling author of mystery and fantasy fiction for young adults. Her early training and career, however, was in commercial art, and she attended the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Arts from 1940 to 1942. She left school to become an ambulance driver for the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II; after the war, she held several different jobs, including as an artist for the duplicating firm Gestetner Ltd. from 1947 to 1953. This was followed by three years as an employment bureau manager; and from 1956 to 1964 Alcock worked as a secretary for Whiltington Hospital in London. Although she had enjoyed storytelling and novels since she was a child, Alcock was shy about trying to be a published author and was content to stay in the background behind her famous author husband, Leon Garfield. However, she did occasionally give him ideas for his books, such as the popular Smith stories. It was not until 1980, therefore, that she finally published her first novel for teenagers, The Haunting of Cassie Palmer. Alcock continued writing fantasies, ghost stories, and mysteries through 2001, many of which proved popular with teens and some of which were adapted to television as movies and series. She published almost two dozen books in all, including Travelers by Night (1983), The Cuckoo Sister (1985), The Monster Garden (1988), A Kind of Thief (1992), Time Wreck (1996), A Gift on a String (1998), Ticket to Heaven (2000), and her last book, The Boy Who Swallowed a Ghost (2001). Several of her novels were named notable books by the American Library Association (ALA), and The Monster Garden was named the best science fiction/fantasy book of 1988 by the ALA.


Guardian (London, England), November 12, 2003, p. 29.

Independent (London, England), October 22, 2003, p. 18.

Times (London, England), October 23, 2003, p. 38.

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