|Rosemary Sutcliff (14 December 1920–23 July 1992). Best known as a writer of historical fiction. Although primarily a children's author, the quality and depth of her writing also appeals to adults; Sutcliff herself once commented that she wrote "for children of all ages from nine to ninety."|
Sutcliff was born in West Clandon, Surrey, but spent her childhood in Malta and various bases where her father, a Royal Navy officer, was stationed. She contracted Still's Disease when she was very young, and thus used a wheelchair most of her life. Due to her chronic illness, Sutcliff spent most of her time with her mother—a tireless storyteller—from whom she learned many of the Celtic and Saxon legends that she would later expand into works of historical fiction. Sutcliff's early schooling was constantly interrupted by moving house and her disabling condition. She did not learn to read until she was nine years of age, and left school at fourteen years to enter the Bideford Art School, which she attended for three years, graduating from the General Art Course. Sutcliff then worked as a painter of miniatures.
Sutcliff began her writing career in 1950 with The Chronicles of Robin Hood. She wrote The Eagle of the Ninth, her most well known work, in 1954. In 1959, Sutcliff won the Carnegie Medal for The Lantern Bearers and was runner-up in 1972 with Tristan and Iseult. In 1974, she was highly commended for the Hans Christian Andersen Award. The Mark of the Horse Lord won the first Phoenix Award in 1985.
Sutcliff lived for many years in Walberton near Arundel, Sussex. In 1975, she was appointed an Officer of the British Empire for services to Children's Literature, and was promoted to be a Commander of the British Empire in 1992. She wrote incessantly throughout her life, and was still writing on the morning of her death. Sutcliff never married.
One of her most famous works, The Eagle of the Ninth,is due to begin filming in Scotland in the autumn of 2009