Sir Philip Pullman is the author of the His Dark Materials and The Book of Dust series with the subsequent companion books: Lyra's Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, Serpentine, and The Collectors as well as a producer of the BBC TV series adaptation of His Dark Materials.
Philip Pullman was born 19 October, 1946 in Norwich (Norfolk, England) to Alfred Outram (an RAF pilot) and Audrey Evelyn Merrifield. With Alfred's transferable job, the family moved from place to place including to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). His schooling began in Rhodesia. When Pullman was hardly seven, his father was killed in an accident in 1953. His mother's remarriage brought him to Australia where he discovered the world of comic books, a medium which he liked. From 1957 onwards, he was educated at Ysgol Ardudwy School in Harlech (Gwynedd), and spent time in Norfolk with his grandfather, a clergyman. He discovered Milton's Paradise Lost around this time - the book became a major influence for His Dark Materials. From 1963 Pullman attended Exeter College, Oxford, receiving a Third class BA in 1968. As regards receiving a Third Class, he once stated:
I thought I was doing quite well until I came out with my third class degree and then I realised that I wasn’t — it was the year they stopped giving fourth class degrees otherwise I’d have got one of those.
Around 1970 he discovered William Blake's illustrations that would greatly influence him in future years. In 1970, Pullman married Judith Speller and began teaching children and writing school plays. The Haunted Storm was his first published work. The book brought him a join-win of the New English Library's Young Writer's Award in 1972. His other books of the period include Galatea (1978) and Count Karlstein (1982).
During the period 1988 and 1996, Pullman taught part-time at Westminster College, Oxford. He began writing the trilogy, His Dark Materials in 1993. The first novel of the trilogy, Northern Lights (titled as The Golden Compass in the US) was published in 1996. The novel won the Carnegie Medal, one of the most prestigious British children's fiction awards, and the Guardian Children's Fiction Award. The success of his first novel launched Pullman as a full-time writer. He also delivers talks and writes occasionally for The Guardian.
Pullman made the New Year's Honours list in 2019 for his contributions to Literature. He commented that he was surprised to be given the honour.
- Official website
- Alethiometer replica, commissioned by Pullman and made by Tony Thompson, on display at the Bodleian
Full texts of major influences on His Dark MaterialsEdit
- "On the Marionette Theatre," by Heinrich von Kleist
- Paradise Lost, by John Milton
- Songs of Innocence and Experience, by William Blake
Some of Pullman's other book recommendationsEdit
- A Hundred Million Francs, by Paul Berna, illustrated by Richard Kennedy - "I'm sure the girl in Kennedy's pictures turned up forty years later, called Lyra."
- Emil and the Detectives, by Erich Kästner, illustrated by Walter Trier - "Genius, really."
- The Magic Pudding, by Norman Lindsay - "The funniest children's book ever written."
- The Moomin books, by Tove Jansson - "There is none like her, none."
- The Anatomy of Melancholy, by Robert Burton - "The most wonderful book I know."
- And many others, listed here
Interviews and debates with Pullman (text transcripts)Edit
- "Darkness Visible: An Interview with Philip Pullman," by Kerry Fried
- "Heat and Dust," by Huw Spanner
- "I'm Quite Against a Sentimental Vision of Childhood," by Nicholas Tucker
- Interview on Textualities, by Jennie Renton
- "Interview with Philip Pullman (from 2004)," by Tony Watkins
- "The Dark Materials Debate: life, God, the universe..." with Dr Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury
- "Philip Pullman in Conversation with Marie Bridge," included in Bridge's On the Way Home
Selected nonfiction: books, essays, and articlesEdit
By Philip Pullman:
- "A word or two about myths" (originally accompanying Karen Armstrong's Myths Series)
- Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling
- "I have the feeling this all belongs to me," autobiographical sketch for Something About the Author, vol. 65
- Introduction to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (excerpt)
- Introduction to Milton's Paradise Lost
- "Isis Lecture"
- "Leave the Libraries Alone"
- "Miss Goddard's Grave"
- "Soft Beulah's Night" (also subtitled "William Blake and Vision")
About Philip Pullman and His Dark Materials:
- "Far from Narnia," by Laura Miller
- His Dark Materials Illuminated: Critical Essays on Philip Pullman's Trilogy, ed. Millicent Lenz with Carole Scott
- "The language of Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials,'" by Simon Horobin
- "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell? Philip Pullman, C.S. Lewis, and the Fantasy Tradition," by Marek Oziewicz and Daniel Hade
- "Pullman, Lewis, MacDonald, and the Anxiety of Influence," by William Gray
- "What Makes a Children's Classic? Daemons and Dual Audience..." by Susan R. Bobby
- Consult Philip Pullman's, His Dark Materials - The Definitive Guide, by Laurie Frost
- Or those available at isfdb and on BridgeToTheStars
|Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials|
|Main Trilogy||Northern Lights • The Subtle Knife • The Amber Spyglass|
|The Book of Dust||La Belle Sauvage • The Secret Commonwealth • The Book of Dust Volume Three|
|Companion Books||Lyra's Oxford • Once Upon a Time in the North • Serpentine • The Collectors • Green Book|