Biography

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 337

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A relatively new writer, Michelle Magorian promises to delight readers for many years. Born in November 1947, in Portsmouth, England, Magorian spent part of her childhood in Singapore and Australia as the family followed her father's naval assignments. Later he became a lawyer in Hampshire, and there Magorian acquired the feeling for the rural English settings described in her books.

Michelle Magorian now lives in London. A person of diverse talents, Magorian has trained as a teacher and has studied mime with Marcel Marceau. She has performed many one-woman shows and has toured as a dancer and actress with several British repertory companies.

Magorian did not read much as a child but discovered the pleasure of young adult books in her twenties, when she became an avid reader. She enjoys research, especially about World War II and the post-war period. An old picture of a group of evacuee children touched her deeply and strongly influenced her interest in that phase of English history. She also has a love for poetry.

Writing has always been her hobby, and her works include horror stories and plays for her theatrical company. One night as she participated in a musical, a song inspired her to write a short story about a little child and an old man. As other stories followed, Good Night, Mr. Tom developed into a moving novel about abused Willie Beech and lonely old Tom Oakley. Magorian hesitated to mention her novel to anyone, but during a writing course she showed her manuscript to tutor-novelist Dulan Barber. At his insistence she submitted it to a publisher, and the book became an international success.

Good Night, Mr. Tom won the prestigious British Guardian Award for Fiction, and the International Reading Association Children's Book Award. It was named a Notable Children's Book and a Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association. Seldom has a first novel received more recognition. Magorian's second book, Back Horne, was also named to the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults list.