Kevin John William Crossley-Holland – Woodside
Kevin Crossley-Holland (born 7 February 1941) is an English translator, children’s author and poet. His best known work may now be the Arthur Trilogy, published around age sixty (2000–2003), (1) for which he won the Guardian Prize(2) and other recognition.
Crossley-Holland and his 1985 novella Storm won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year’s outstanding children’s book by a British author. (3) For the 70th anniversary of the Medal in 2007 it was named one of the top ten winning works. (4)
Born in Mursley, N. Bucks, Crossley-Holland grew up in Whiteleaf and attended Bryanston School in Dorset, followed by St Edmund Hall at Oxford. After failing his first exams he discovered a passion for Anglo-Saxon literature. After graduating he became the Gregory Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds and, from 1972 to 1977, he lectured in Anglo-Saxon for the Tufts University London program. He also undertook teaching assignments in the midwestern United States.
His writing career began when he began working as a poetry, fiction and children’s book editor for Macmillan Publishers. He later became editorial director at Victor Gollancz, Ltd. He is known for poetry, novels, story collections, and translations, including three editions of the Anglo-Saxon classic Beowulf. (5) (6) (7) Some of his books, including the Arthur trilogy, reinterpret medieval legends. He also writes definitive collections of Norse Myths (The Penguin Book of Norse Myths) and British and Irish folk tales (The Magic Lands: Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland). Bracelet of Bones, the first of his Viking sagas was published in 2011, as was The Mountains of Norfolk: New and Selected Poems. He has edited and translated the riddles included in the Anglo-Saxon Exeter Book. (8)
Crossley-Holland has also written the libretti for two operas by Nicola LeFanu, The Green Children (1966) and The Wildman (1976), and for a chamber opera about Nelson, Haydn and Emma Hamilton. He has collaborated several times with composers Sir Arthur Bliss and William Mathias and he has written a stage play, The Wuffings (1999).
Crossley-Holland now lives on the N. Norfolk coast, where he spent some of his childhood. His autobiography, The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood, was published in 2009. (9) In 2012 he took up the honorary post of President of the School Library Association. (10)
(1) Kevin Crossley-Holland at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.
(2) Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2001 (top page). Guardian.co.uk.
(3) (Carnegie Winner 1985). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners.
(4) “70 Years Celebration: Anniversary Top Tens”. The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards.
(5) Illustrations by Brigitte Hanff; introduction by Bruce Mitchell. London: Macmillan, 1968.
(6) Illustrations by Virgil Burnett; introduction by Bruce Mitchell. London: Folio Society, 1973. ISBN 0-85067-066-7
(7) Edited by Heather O’Donoghue. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. ISBN 978-0-19-283320-4
(8) Crossley-Holland, Kevin (2008). The Exeter Book Riddles. London: Enitharmon Press. ISBN 978-1-904634-46-1.
(9) Crossley-Holland, Kevin (2009). The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood. London: Quercus. ISBN 978-1-84724-736-0.
(10) Enitharmon Press: Kevin Crossley-Holland to become SLA President in 2012