Philip Pullman named 2002 Arbuthnot Honor Lecturer

Contact: Larra Clark


ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

January 2001

Philip Pullman named 2002 Arbuthnot Honor Lecturer

Philip Pullman, the highly original and skillful creator of "The Golden Compass," "The Subtle Knife," and this year's acclaimed "The Amber Spyglass," all part of the
His Dark Materials" trilogy for older children and young adults, will deliver the 2002 Arbuthnot Honor Lecture.

Each year, an individual of distinction in the field of children's literature is selected to deliver the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, which is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA). The announcement was made January 15 during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Washington, D.C.

"A writer unafraid to tackle large questions and impossible quests, Mr. Pullman has readers gasping as "His Dark Materials" fantasies lead them - and his collection of off-beat characters - through multi-layer landscapes, changing worlds and an exploration of the very nature of freedom, betrayal, sacrifice, religion, and God," said Sara Miller, chair of the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award Selection Committee. "That he does this in work that is rich with folklore, literary allusion, technological imagination and unbeatable storytelling makes him a wonderful choice for the lecture series."

Action-packed adventures with likeable, flawed heroes and heroines are a hallmark of much of Pullman's work. The "Sally Lockhart Trilogy," of suspense novels, beginning with "The Ruby in the Smoke," brings Victorian England to live with a very modern flare. His supernatural "Clockwork: Or All Wound Up," and farcical "The Firework-Maker's Daughter," and "I Was a Rat!" demonstrate the range of his work and humor. Pullman has written 20 books of fiction.

With "His Dark Materials," trilogy, Pullman has written a risk-taking masterpiece probing a possible basis for meaning in the universe. The first volume, "The Golden Compass," won the Carnegie Medal, England's highest honor for a children's book, in 1996.

Born in Norwich, England, in 1946, Pullman spent the first part of his childhood traveling from country to country with a military family, settling at last in North Wales, then moving to Oxford, where he studied English, taught at various middle schools and lectured at Westminster College. Now that his two sons are grown, he lives there quietly with his wife and dogs, writing full-time in a shed at the bottom of the garden.

Members of the Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award Selection Committee are: Chair, Sara Miller, Rindge, N.H.; Jeanne McDermott, Farrar Straus Giroux, N.Y.; Julie Corsaro, Collegiate School, Richmond, Va.; Leda Schubert, Vermont Department of Education; and Linda Ward-Callaghan, Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library.

More information about the
May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture can be found online.