BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS, Rosemary Sutcliff
Rosemary Sutcliff is one of the most distinguished children’s writers of our time withover forty historical novels to her name. Blue Remembered Hills is the vivid and touching memoir of her childhood. (see p.13 SF No. 17; also SF No.4).
Rosemary Sutcliff was born in 1920, the only child of a naval father and a pretty, manic-depressive mother with bags of charm and a wild imagination. She suffered from infantile arthritis, known as Still’s Disease, that burned its way through her as a child, leaving her permanently disabled, but this is the very opposite of a misery memoir. It is a record of the growing up and making of a writer, and it is full of poetry, humour, affection, joy in people and the natural world, and the kind of deep understanding that can come out of hard experiences.
Despite moving regularly between naval digs and frequent, lonely stays in hospital, Rosemary’s childhood was, in some ways, enchanted, lived among the vivid sights and sounds of the dockyards, which would later feed into her books. When her father retired from the sea the family moved to Torrington in North Devon - it felt like heaven. However, the nearby school was not a success. Rosemary left at 14 and went to Bideford Art School, where she became a skilled miniaturist, eventually exhibiting at the Royal Academy. In time, feeling cramped by the small canvas of her paintings, isolated in the country and hurt in love she turned to writing and there found success and fulfilment. Blue Remembered Hills is a wonderful, timeless memoir critically acclaimed and much loved since its first publication in 1983.
Rosemary Sutcliff’s Blue Remembered Hills (1983) is now available from Slightly Foxed in a new limited and numbered cloth-bound pocket edition of 2,000 copies, each priced at £10 (plus post and packing). Copies may be ordered by post (67 Dickinson Court, 15 Brewhouse Yard, London EC1V 4JX), by phone (0207 549 2121) or via the website http://www.foxedquarterly.com/.