TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Lynne Reid Banks

Lynne Reid Banks

Lynne Reid Banks admits that she herself was a “reluctant reader” as a child, but that stories – told or read to her mainly by her imaginative Irish actress mother – were the breath of life to her. “Though I was the only child, I never remember being lonely. Every waking hour was filled with daydreams, songs, poems and imaginary characters, most of them played by me! I’ve always talked to myself. I still do. My sons get embarrassed. ‘Who were your talking to, Mum?’ And I answer. ‘I was giving so-and-so a piece of my mind,’ or ‘Oh, just someone I made up.’”

As a writer for children, Lynne has strong views about the importance of fantasy in developing

children’s inner worlds – fantasy in their reading and their own writing. She even has a theory that children trained to project themselves into the skins of others imaginatively are less likely to commit crimes later. “But for teachers, it’s hard work,” says Lynne, who for eight years taught on an Israeli kibbutz. “I used to teach English language through drama, and learning songs and poems by heart, and by making students write creatively but correctly! That’s very important. Good English is the basic tool of self-expression.”

Born in London, Lynne was evacuated to Canada as a child “war guest” during World War II. Her separation from her home at that time was to cause her some trauma later, when she returned to England and felt that she had “missed” the war. She studied the theater and acted in small companies for five years before realizing she needed to earn a steadier income. She went into journalism, becoming one of the first two women TV reporters in Britain. Later she emigrated to Israel, where she lived for eight years, and married a sculptor and had the three sons who are “personated” in the Indian in the Cupboard series. They are now adults.

Lynne lives with her husband in a 300-year-old farmhouse in Dorset, England. She writes full-time, but also travels and visits schools, at home and abroad. Her latest novels are Broken Bridge, a sequel to her teenage novel One More River, and Angela and Diabola, a story of good and evil.


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