John Pudney

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John Sleigh Pudney (19 January 1909 – 10 November 1977) was a British journalist and writer. He was known for short stories, poetry, non-fiction, and children's fiction (including the Hartwarp books).

Education[edit]

He was born at Langley Marish and educated at Gresham's School, Holt, where he was a friend of W. H. Auden, leaving school at the age of sixteen in 1925. He later lived in Buckinghamshire.

Career[edit]

After leaving school, Pudney worked for an estate agent, for the BBC and for the News Chronicle newspaper. In the 1930s he moved on from journalism and poetry to publishing novels and collections of short stories. In 1940, during World War II, Pudney was commissioned into the Royal Air Force as an intelligence officer and as a member of the Air Ministry's Creative Writer's Unit.

It was while he was serving as squadron intelligence officer at St Eval in Cornwall that Pudney wrote one of the best-known poems of the war.[1] For Johnny evoked popular fellow-feeling in the London of 1941. Written during an air raid, it was published first in the Daily Chronicle, and featured significantly in the film The Way to the Stars.

Do not despair/For Johnny-head-in-air;/He sleeps as sound/As Johnny underground. Fetch out no shroud/For Johnny-in-the-cloud;/And keep your tears/For him in after years. Better by far/For Johnny-the-bright-star,/To keep your head,/And see his children fed.

In the UK General Election of July 1945, Pudney stood as the Labour Party candidate for Sevenoaks, polling 14,947 votes, or 36 per cent.[2][3]

After the war he continued to write and worked as an editor and as a director of magazines and publishing companies. He was with the News Review from 1948 to 1950, Evans Brothers, Ltd. (1950-1953), and Putnam & Co. Ltd (1953-1963). In 1953 he wrote the documentary ' Elizabeth is Queen' that received a BAFTA award.

Between 1949 and 1963 he edited an annual anthology called Pick of Today's Short Stories.

Family[edit]

Pudney was the only son of Henry William Pudney and Mabel Sleigh Pudney. In 1943, he married Crystal Herbert,[4] the daughter of A. P. Herbert, the Independent Member of Parliament. They had two daughters and a son, but were divorced. In 1955 he married his second wife, Monica Forbes Curtis.

Works[edit]

  • Spring Encounter (1933)
  • Open the Sky. Poems (Boriswood 1934)
  • And Lastly the Fireworks (Boriswood 1935) stories
  • Jacobson's Ladder (1938)
  • Uncle Arthur and other stories (1939)
  • Dispersal Point and other Air Poems (1942)
  • The Grass Grew All Round (1942)
  • Beyond This Disregard (1943) poems
  • South of Forty (1943) poems
  • Who Only England Know (1943)
  • Ten Summers: Poems 1933-1943 (1944)
  • Almanack of Hope: Sonnets (1944)
  • Air Force Poetry (1944) editor with Henry Treece
  • Flight above Cloud (1944)
  • The Air Battle of Malta (1944)
  • Atlantic Bridge (1945) anonymously
  • World Still There (1945)
  • Edna's Fruit Hat (1946) stories
  • It Breathed Down My Neck (1946) stories
  • Selected Poems (1946)
  • Estuary, a Romance (1947)
  • Low Life (1947) poems
  • Commemorations (1948) poems
  • Shuffley Wanderers (1948) novel
  • The Europeans (1948)
  • The Pick of Today's Short Stories (1949) editor
  • The Accomplice (1950)
  • The Pick of Today's Short Stories 2 (1950) editor
  • Saturday Adventure (1950) "a story for boys"
  • Hero of a Summer's Day (1951) novel
  • Music on the South Bank : An Appreciation of The Royal Festival Hall.(1951)
  • Sunday Adventure (1951)
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 3 (1952) editor
  • His Majesty King George VI (1952)
  • Monday Adventure: The Secrets of Blackmead Abbey (1952)
  • The Net (1952)
  • A Ring for Luck (1953)
  • Sixpenny Songs (1953)
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 4 (1953) editor
  • The Thomas Cook Story (1953)
  • The Queen's People (1953) with Izis Bidermanas
  • Tuesday Adventure (1953)
  • Wednesday Adventure (1954)
  • The Smallest Room: a Discreet Survey Through the Ages (1954)
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 5 (1954) editor
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 6 (1955) editor
  • Thursday Adventure (1955)
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 7 (1956) editor
  • Friday Adventure (1956)
  • Collected Poems (1957)
  • The Book of Leisure (1957) editor
  • Trespass in the Sun (1957)
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 9 (1958) editor
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 10 (1959) editor
  • The Leisure-Hour Companion (1959)
  • The Seven Skies (1959) BOAC
  • The Trampoline (1959)
  • A Pride of Unicorns: Richard and David Atcherley of the R.A.F. (1960)
  • Bristol Fashion. Some Account of the Earlier Days of Bristol Aviation (1960)
  • Home & Away - An Autobiographical Gambit. (1960)
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 11 (1960) editor
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 12 (1961) editor
  • Spring Adventure (1961) children's fiction
  • Thin Air (1961)
  • Summer Adventure (1962)
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 13 (1962) editor
  • The Hartwarp Light Railway (1962) children's fiction
  • Pick of Today's Short Stories 14 (1963) editor
  • The Hartwarp Balloon (1963)
  • The Hartwarp Circus (1963)
  • The Hartwarp Bakehouse (1964)
  • The Camel Fighter (1964)
  • Autumn Adventure (1964)
  • The Hartwarp Explosion (1965)
  • Winter Adventure (1965)
  • Tunnel to the Sky (1965)
  • The Grandfather Clock (1966)
  • The Golden Age of Steam (1967)
  • Spill Out: Poems and Ballads (1967)
  • The Hartwarp Jets (1967)
  • Flight and Flying (1968) editor
  • Suez: De Lesseps' Canal (1968)
  • Spandrels : Poems and Ballads (1969)
  • Take This Orange: Poems and Ballads (1971)
  • A Draught of Contentment. The Story of the Courage Group.(1971)
  • The Long Time Growing Up (1971) novel
  • Crossing London's River, the Bridges, Ferries and Tunnels Crossing the Thames Tideway in London (1972)
  • Selected Poems 1967-1973 (1973)
  • Brunel and His World (1974)
  • London's Docks (1975)
  • Lewis Carroll and His World (1976)
  • Living in a One-Sided House (1976) poems
  • John Wesley and His World (1978)
  • Thank Goodness for Cake (1978) autobiography
  • Writers' Workshop, poetry anthology, editor with Norman Hidden and Michael Johnson

References[edit]

External links[edit]