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Pauline Fisk (1948-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

Born 1948, in London, England; Education: Attended Wimbledon County School for Girls, 1959-66. Religion: "Non-Conformist." Hobbies and other interests: Walking, reading, weaving.


Agent—Laura Cecil Agency, 17 Alwyne Villas, London N1 2HG, England.




British Society of Authors.

Honors Awards

Smarties Prize for Children's Books, overall winner and winner of nine-to-eleven-year-old group, British Book Trust, and Whitbread Award for Children's Books short-list, Booksellers Association of Great Britain and Ireland, both 1990, both for Midnight Blue.

Pauline Fisk


The Southern Hill (stories), Lion (Batavia, IL), 1972.

Midnight Blue (novel), Lion (Batavia, IL), 1990.

Telling the Sea (novel), Lion (Batavia, IL), 1992.

Tyger Pool (novel), Bodley Head (London, England), 1994.

The Beast of Whixall Moss (novel), Walker (London, England), 1997.

The Candle House (novel), Bodley Head (London, England), 1999.

Sabrina Fludde (novel), Bloomsbury (London, England), 2001, published as The Secret of Sabrina Fludde, Bloomsbury Children's Books (New York, NY), 2002.

The Red Judge (novel), Bloomsbury (London, England), 2005.

Work in Progress

Lavender Castle, an animated television series, with fantasy artist Rodney Matthews, filmmaker Gerry Anderson, and composer and musician Rick Wakeman; the next installment of the "Secret of Sabrina Fludde" trilogy.


British writer Pauline Fisk is the author of such works as Midnight Blue, winner of the Smarties Prize for Children's Books, and The Secret of Sabrina Fludde. Fisk, who cites Hans Christian Anderson, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Philip Pullman as influences, often incorporates elements of fantasy into her novels.

Fisk grew up in the suburbs of South London. A shy young girl, uncomfortable in her environment, she found an outlet for her fears and frustrations through writing. "I began to write fiction and poetry at the age of nine," Fisk once commented, "giving up only after the publication of a book of short stories in 1972, when my first child was born. It seemed to me at that time that the obsessional drives of a writer were incompatible with motherhood." She added, "Midnight Blue was begun at the worst possible time, after the birth of my fifth child, when I still had a toddler at home as well. But the need to hear what increasingly felt like my 'lost inner voice' was so strong that there was no gainsaying it."

Midnight Blue examines the classic conflict between good and evil. The story concerns young Bonnie, who lives with her mother under the constant watch of "Grandbag," Bonnie's dictatorial grandmother. While exploring the neighborhood around her new apartment complex, Bonnie discovers a neighbor's magical hot-air balloon and climbs aboard. She is transported to an alternate world that mirrors her own, where Bonnie meets a look-alike named Arabella. Though she is quickly accepted by Arabella's loving family, Bonnie grows concerned when Arabella's villainous grandmother—an incarnation of Grandbag—intrudes upon her new life.

"The story is, in every sense, marvelous," wrote a reviewer for Junior Bookshelf. "The magical elements in it are closely integrated. There is no contrivance, and the action evolves naturally out of the characters and their situation." A reviewer for the London Sunday Times stated that "Midnight Blue is the kind of book that casts a life-long spell over the imagination. It emerges as an original work which is far greater than the sum of its parts."

The Secret of Sabrina Fludde opens as a mysterious young girl drifts down a river, the Sabrina Fludde, not knowing from where she has come. She comes ashore in the town of Pengwern, where she learns her name is Abren, as well as other clues to her identity. As she gathers bits and pieces of her past, Abren realizes that her life is actually a re-creation of an ancient legend. She also realizes that in order to survive, she must somehow change the ending of that story.

"Abren's tale takes many shapes and turns, sometimes entrenched in the here-and-now, sometimes seeming to be made up of the stuff of legends and mythology," In Fisk's award-winning fantasy novel a young girl escapes in a hot-air balloon and finds herself in a parallel world in which her positive relationships are better but the threatening characters in her life, like her possessive grandmother "Grandbag," seem even more menacing. Carried along by the river to the town of Pengwern, Arwen must search for clues as to her own identity, aided by a haunting voice and a succession of unusual acquaintances in this first part of a planned trilogy. noted School Library Journal critic Sharon Grover. "The tale's creative combination of reverie and reality should capture the fancy of fantasy fans," a Publishers Weekly contributor noted, and Jean Franklin, reviewing the work in Booklist, wrote that "the twisting plot will keep readers intrigued to the very end of this atmospheric mystery." A reviewer for Locus called The Secret of Sabrina Fludde "an evocative mix of old legend, faerie forces, and contemporary urban survival."

Biographical and Critical Sources


St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.


Booklist, September 1, 2002, Jean Franklin, review of The Secret of Sabrina Fludde, pp. 114-115; October 1, 2003, Linda Perkins, review of Midnight Blue, p. 320.

Books for Keeps, March, 1998, review of Telling the Sea, p. 14.

Books for Your Children, spring, 1995, review of Tyger Pool, p. 17.

Children's Bookwatch, June, 1992, review of Telling the Sea, p. 4.

Fear, April, 1991.

Junior Bookshelf, December, 1990, p. 292; December, 1994, review of Tyger Pool, p. 223.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1, 2003, review of Midnight Blue, p. 1223.

Locus, June, 2002, review of The Secret of Sabrina Fludde, p. 35.

Observer (London, England), October 28, 2001, review of Sabrina Fludde, p. 16.

Publishers Weekly, November 30, 1990; May 20, 2002, review of The Secret of Sabrina Fludde, pp. 65-66; November 10, 2003, review of Midnight Blue, p. 62.

School Librarian, August, 1992, review of Telling the Sea, p. 113.

School Library Journal, July, 2002, Sharon Grover, review of The Secret of Sabrina Fludde, p. 119; November, 2003, Saleena L. Davidson, review of Midnight Blue,, pp. 138-139.

Sunday Times (London, England), November 23, 2001, review of Sabrina Fludde, p. 20.

Times Educational Supplement (London, England), April 8, 1990, p. H8; November 11, 1994, review of Tyger Pool, p. R3.


BBC Online, http://www.bbc.co.uk/ (February 24, 2003), "Pauline Fisk—Stories That Teach Children to Love Life"; (April 15, 2004), "Children's Author Pauline Fisk."

Bloomsbury Web site, http://www.bloomsbury.com/ (May 23, 2005), "Questions and Answers: Pauline Fisk."

Healthy Books Web site, http://www.healthybooks.org.uk/ (February 24, 2003), review of Tyger Pool.

Jubilee Books Web site, http://www.jubileebooks.co.uk/ (May 23, 2005), "Pauline Fisk."

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