Gene Kemp

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Gene Kemp née Rushton (27 December 1926 – 4th January 2015) was a British author best known for her children's books. Her first novel, The Pride of Tamworth Pig was published in 1972. She won the British Carnegie Medal for The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler (1977).[1]


Gene Kemp was born in Wiggington, Staffordshire in 1926[2] grew up near Tamworth, Staffordshire, and went to Exeter University. She became a teacher and taught at St Sidwell's School in Exeter in the 1970s.[3]

From 1972 she wrote stories for young writers about a pig named Tamworth, named after the town she grew up in.

Her best known book is The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler, published by Faber's Children's Books in 1977. Set in the fictional Cricklepit School, it charts the pleasures and pains of friendship and growing up. There are several Cricklepit books including Snaggletooth's Mystery, an alternative history of the school, and Gowie Corby Plays Chicken, set one year after The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler and referencing Tyke in several chapters.

Kemp has written ghost stories and fantasy as well as realistic fiction like Seriously Weird which is told from the perspective of the sister of a young man with Asperger syndrome.

She has also turned her work into plays, the most successful and well-known of which is Charlie Lewis Plays for Time, another Cricklepit story.

Gene Kemp was awarded an Honorary MA from Exeter University in 1984.

She lived in Exeter and has three children and three grandchildren. On Kemp died at the age of 88 in January 2015 (the 4th or 6th).[4][5]


Kemp won two major awards for The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler, published by Faber & Faber in 1977: the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject,[1] and the other from the Children's Rights Workshop.[6]

She made the Smarties Prize shortlist four times, in 1981 for The Clock Tower Ghost, 1985 for Charlie Lewis Plays for Time, 1986 for Juniper and 1990 for Just Ferret.

Selected works[edit]

As editor
  • Ducks and Dragons
  • The Puffin Book of Ghosts and Ghouls
Cricklepit series
Other books as author
  • Dog Days and Cat Naps (1980)
  • The Clock Tower Ghost (1981)
  • Jason Bodger and the Priory Ghost (1985)
  • Juniper (1986)
  • Mr Magus is Waiting for You (1986)
  • I Can't Stand Losing (1987)
  • The Well (1988)
  • No Place Like (1989)
  • Seriously Weird (2003)
  • The Haunted Piccolo (2004)
  • Nothing Scares Me (2006)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (Carnegie Winner 1977). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  2. ^ "Penguin Books author biography of Gene Kemp". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  3. ^ David Cornforth. "Gene Kemp". Exeter Memories. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Children's Literature in Education, Volume 10, Number 3". SpringerLink. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 

External links[edit]

Gene Kemp at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database