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Pearce, Philippa

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1920-2006) UK author, almost exclusively of fantasy tales for children, though her first novel Minnow on the Say (1955; vt The Minnow Leads to Treasure 1958) as A Philippa Pearce is a nonfantastic treasure-hunt story of some charm. Her most famous novel, Tom's Midnight Garden (1958) as A Philippa Pearce, for which she won the Carnegie Medal, makes use of the time theories of J W Dunne to explain the Timeslip that allows young Tom to communicate with the young girl from Victorian times who, as an elderly woman, has created through her dreams a real garden out of the demolished past, where the two may meet as children (see Children's SF). The rest of Pearce's large oeuvre is fantasy, much of it distinguished, with tales ostensibly for younger children, like The Squirrel Wife (1971 chap), effortlessly carrying its protagonist Into the Woods [see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below] where he is transformed, after travails, into a husband back in the world, a father, a grandfather. Pearce's last novel, The Little Gentleman (2005), replicates some of the intense emotion conveyed in earlier books through the conversations between a young girl and a mole, the latter gifted with a centuries'-long lifespan. But time passes; and the girl is grown and the mole dead. [JC]

Ann Philippa Pearce

born Great Shelford, Cambridgeshire: 23 January 1920

died Newcastle-upon-Tyne: 21 December 2006

works (very highly selected)


works as editor


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