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Waugh, Sylvia

Entry updated 20 March 2023. Tagged: Author.

(1935-2022), UK teacher, librarian, careers adviser and author whose first book was the children's fantasy The Mennyms (1993), about a miniature Wainscot Society comprising a single family living quasi-secretly in a house in the suburbs of some north-England town or City: the well-delineated family members are not human but magically animated life-size rag dolls, whose quiet existence is here seemingly endangered by a threatened outside intrusion in the form of a human visitor from Australia. The metaphorical echo of other outsiders who have been forced by justified Paranoia to live in hiding is understated but always present. The Mennyms won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. Further complications and displacements arise in the four Mennyms sequels that follow, but all eventually ends well.

Of direct sf interest is the Young Adult Ormingat Trilogy comprising Space Race (2000), Earthborn (2002) and Who Goes Home? (2003). These tales dramatize the pains of conflict between racial and cultural Identity as children (see Children in SF) who identify as human discover that their parents are Alien observers or spies from the world of Ormingat, who at mission's end must return from Earth to a home which for these troubled pre-teens is not home; there is particular stress for the boy who has a human mother and an "Ormingatrig" father. [DRL]

Sylvia Richardson Waugh

born Gateshead, Durham [now Tyne and Wear], 1935

died UK: 6 March 2022




  • The Mennyms (London: Random Century/Julia MacRae Books, 1993) [Mennyms: hb/Patrick Benson]
  • Mennyms in the Wilderness (London: Random Century/Julia MacRae Books, 1994) [Mennyms: hb/Patrick Benson]
  • Mennyms Under Siege (London: Random Century/Julia MacRae Books, 1995) [Mennyms: hb/Patrick Benson]
  • Mennyms Alone (London: Random Century/Julia MacRae Books, 1996) [Mennyms: hb/Patrick Benson]
  • Mennyms Alive (London: Random Century/Julia MacRae Books, 1996) [Mennyms: hb/Patrick Benson]

Ormingat Trilogy

  • Space Race (London: The Bodley Head, 2000) [Ormingat Trilogy: hb/Mark Edwards]
  • Earthborn (London: The Bodley Head, 2002) [Ormingat Trilogy: hb/Tracey Hurst]
  • Who Goes Home? (London: The Bodley Head, 2003) [Ormingat Trilogy: hb/Tracey Hurst]


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