(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Rosemary Sutcliff 1920–

English novelist.

Sutcliff is one of England's foremost writers of historical fiction for young adults. She is especially noted for her ability to bring history alive for her readers. Whether she is retelling a traditional legend or chronicling actual historical events, her expertise at realistically conveying a particular sense of time and place enables young adults to see history as a "continuous process of which they themselves are a part." By focusing as much on the dramatic external action as on the inner life of the protagonist struggling to pass into maturity, Sutcliff succeeds in creating historical fiction relevant to contemporary youth.

Perhaps the best known of her works is her trilogy about the rise and fall of Roman Britain consisting of The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, and The Lantern Bearers. Sutcliff won the Carnegie Medal award in 1960 for The Lantern Bearers. Her other trilogy, depicting Arthurian legends, was recently completed with the publication of The Road to Camlann.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 5-8, rev. ed. and Something about the Author, Vol. 6.)