Judith Kerr

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Judith Kerr
Born Anne Judith Kerr
(1923-06-14) 14 June 1923 (age 90)
Berlin, Germany
Genres Children's and Young Adult Fiction
Notable work(s) The Tiger Who Came To Tea, the Mog series, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit
Spouse(s) Nigel Kneale
(1954-2006; his death)

Anne Judith Kerr, OBE (born 14 June 1923) is a German-born British writer and illustrator. She has created both enduring picture books such as the Mog series and The Tiger Who Came To Tea and acclaimed novels for older children such as the autobiographical When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit which give a child's-eye view of the Second World War.

Youth[edit]

Kerr (pronounced "Carr") was born in Berlin, the daughter of Alfred Kerr (1867–1948), an influential German-Jewish theatre critic who had changed his name from Kempner to Kerr in 1887. She had a brother, Michael. In 1933, just before the Nazis first came to power, the family left Germany, fearful because Alfred Kerr had openly criticised the Nazis.[1] Kerr's books were burned by the Nazis shortly after he fled Germany. The family travelled first to Switzerland and then on into France, before finally settling in Britain, where Judith Kerr has lived ever since. She subsequently became a naturalised British citizen.

Life in London[edit]

During the Second World War, Judith Kerr worked for the Red Cross, helping wounded soldiers, before being awarded a scholarship to study at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and becoming an artist. She was later prompted by her future husband — scriptwriter Nigel Kneale — to apply for a job as a BBC television scriptwriter. She got the job and she and Kneale were married in 1954; they remained married until Kneale's death in 2006. They had two children: their son Matthew Kneale is also a writer, winning the Book of the Year prize at the Whitbread Book Awards in 2000 for the novel English Passengers.[2] Their daughter, Tacy Kneale, works in the special effects industry, and worked on the Harry Potter films. Tacy plans to write children's books also.

Books[edit]

Kerr is best known for her children's books. Although she dreamed of being a famous writer as a child, she only started writing and drawing books when her own children were learning to read.[2] She has written self-illustrated picture titles such as the 17-strong Mog series and the highly successful [2] The Tiger Who Came To Tea. She has written novels for children such as the autobiographical When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and The Other Way Round, which semi-autobiographically tell the story of the rise of the Nazis in 1930s Germany from a child's perspective.[3] Again it was her children that occasioned this writing: when her son was eight he saw The Sound of Music and remarked "now we know what it was like when Mummy was a little girl". Kerr wanted him to know what it was really like and so wrote When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.[4]

Kerr lives in Barnes, London, the same house she has lived in since 1962.[2] She says that since the death of her husband writing has become more important than ever[2] and she continues to write and illustrate new children's books with Twinkles, Arthur and Puss published in 2008 and One Night in the Zoo in 2009.

She won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 1974 for her young adult novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit.

Kerr was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to children's literature and Holocaust education.[5][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brown, Helen (2007-11-03). "Judith Kerr:'Cats are very interesting people'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-09-24. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Guest, Katy (6 September 2009). "Judith Kerr: If Carlsberg made grannies...". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  3. ^ Armitstead, Claire (29 November 2008). "Tiger! Tiger! burning bright - interview with Judith Kerr, author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  4. ^ O’Brien, Catherine (11 August 2004). "Love etc". The Times. Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 23. 16 June 2012.
  6. ^ "OBE". Retrieved 2012-06-15. 

External links[edit]