Pullein-Thompson sisters

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The Pullein-Thompson sistersJosephine Pullein-Thompson MBE (3 April 1924 – 19 June 2014),[1][2] Diana Pullein-Thompson (born 1 October 1925),[3] and Christine Pullein-Thompson (1 October 1925 – 2 December 2005)[3] – were British writers, known mainly for their pony books, mostly fictional, aimed at children and mostly popular with girls. They started at a very young age, initially writing collectively, and they were at their peak in the 1950s and 1960s, but their popularity has endured. They also wrote a collective autobiography Fair Girls and Grey Horses.

Background[edit]

All three of the Pullein-Thompson sisters have written at least one book under a different name; Josephine wrote one under the pseudonym of Josephine Mann, Diana wrote three books under her married name of Diana Farr and Christine wrote two books under the name of Christine Keir. Further details of the titles are given in the relevant section.

Their mother, Joanna Cannan (1898–1961), sister of the poet May Cannan, wrote similar equestrian stories, but is better known for detective mysteries. Their father was Captain Harold J "Cappy" Pullein-Thompson, who was badly injured during the First World War. Consequently he made his money by selling refrigerators, and did not publish any works. They also had a brother, Denis Cannan, who was an author as well, primarily a playwright, though he had not published as many works as his sisters.

The sisters are also related to the British novelist and dramatist Gilbert Cannan and the academic Charles Cannan. Joanna Cannan and May Cannan were daughters of Charles Cannan, making Gilbert Cannan their cousin. Diana later wrote an autobiography of Cannan's life. Their father was the brother of Emily Muriel Pullein Thompson, who was the mother of the composer John Gardner who is therefore also their cousin.

Christine had four children, two sons and two daughters, as a result of her marriage to Julian Popescu in 1956. One of her daughters Charlotte Popescu is an author of children's pony books, which are not as widely known as her mother's or her aunts'. Christine's other children were Phillip, Mark and Lucy. Lucy is a literary critic, writer and editor, and son, Philip, has written various books for learners of English. In addition she had eight grandchildren, Oliver, Daniel, Anna, Benjamin, Thomas and Hamish, Edwina and Maxwell. Diana married art historian Dennis Farr, and had two children, a son and a daughter. The National Portrait Gallery in London contains portraits of Diana and her two children.

The sisters' books are strongly oriented towards ponies, and for over 60 years they have been much loved by young girls with a strong enthusiasm for horses and ponies. Diana has often written books aimed at a slightly older audience, including some set in London. Christine was the most prolific and also wrote a number of stories which are not specifically concerned with horses or ponies; these are mostly aimed at younger children. Apart from the books listed below, all three sisters have also edited and contributed to various anthologies of horse and pony stories.

Awards and honours[edit]

Works[edit]

Josephine Pullein-Thompson[edit]

  • Six Ponies (1946)
  • I Had Two Ponies (1947)
  • Plenty of Ponies (1949)
  • Pony Club Team (1950)
  • The Radney Riding Club (1951)
  • Prince Among Ponies (1952)
  • One Day Event (1954)
  • Show Jumping Secret (1955)
  • Patrick's Pony (1956)
  • Pony Club Camp (1957)
  • The Trick Jumpers (1958)
  • All Change (1961; later republished as The Hidden Horse)
  • How Horses Are Trained (non-fiction, 1961)
  • Ponies In Colour (non-fiction) (1962)
  • Learn To Ride Well (non-fiction, 1966, later republished as How To Ride Well)      
  • Horses and Their Owners (non-fiction, 1970)
  • Race Horse Holiday (1971, also published as Racehorse Holiday)
  • Proud Riders (1973)
  • Black Ebony (1975)
  • Star Riders Of The Moor (1976; later republished as Star Riders)
  • Ride Better And Better (non-fiction, 1977)
  • Fear Treks The Moor (1978)
  • Black Nightshade (1978)
  • Ride To The Rescue (1979)
  • Ghost Horse On The Moor (1980)
  • The No-Good Pony (1981)
  • Treasure On The Moor (1982)
  • The Prize Pony (1982)
  • Black Raven (1982)
  • Pony Club Cup (1982)
  • Save The Ponies (1984)
  • Mystery On The Moor (1984)
  • Pony Club Challenge (1984)
  • Pony Club Trek (1985)
  • Suspicion Stalks The Moor (1986)
  • Black Swift (1991)
  • A Job With Horses (1994)
Dates Unknown
  • Youth In The Saddle (contributor)

Josephine also wrote the adult mystery books Gin and Murder (1959), Murder Strikes Pink (1963) and They Died In The Spring (1960). She also wrote the book A Place With Two Faces (1972) under the pseudonym of Josephine Mann. She has long been involved with the British branch of the writers' organisation International PEN, which campaigns for writers' freedoms in authoritarian or tyrannical regimes. She was awarded the MBE in 1984.

The book Six Ponies and Pony Club Team are now available to buy from Fidra Books – who are also republishing some of Joanna Cannan's books – which includes original illustrations and text.

Josephine was, for many years, a vice president of the Woodland Hunt Branch of the Pony Club, based in the Henley on Thames area.

Diana Pullein-Thompson[edit]

  • I Wanted A Pony (1946)
  • Three Ponies and Shannan (1947)
  • The Penny Fields (1949, has been published as The Pennyfields)
  • A Pony To School (1950)
  • A Pony For Sale (1951)
  • Janet Must Ride (1953)
  • Horses At Home and Friends Must Part (1954)
  • Riding With The Lyntons (1956)
  • Riding For Children (non-fiction, 1957)
  • The Boy & The Donkey (1958, later republished as The Donkey Race)      
  • The Secret Dog (1958)
  • The Boy Who Came To Stay (1960)
  • The Hidden River (1960)
  • Bindi Must Go (1962)
  • The Battle Of Clapham Common (1962)
  • The Hermit's Horse (1974)
  • Black Princess (1975)
  • Ponies In The Valley (1976)
  • Black Romany (1978)
  • Ponies On The Trail (1978)
  • Ponies In Peril (1979)
  • Cassidy In Danger (1979, later republished as This Pony Is Dangerous)
  • Only a Pony (1980)
  • The Pony Seekers (1981)
  • A Foal For Candy (1981)
  • Black Piper (1982)
  • A Pony Found (1983)
  • Dear Pup: Letters To A Young Dog (1988)
  • The Long Ride Home (1996)
Dates unknown
  • Youth In The Saddle (contributor)

The books Five at 10: Prime Ministers' Consorts Since 1957 (1985), Gilbert Cannan; A Georgian Prodigy (1978) and Choosing (1988) have been published under her married name (Diana Farr) in addition to her maiden (and better known) name.

Christine Pullein-Thompson[edit]

  • We Rode To The Sea (1948)
  • We Hunted Hounds (1949)
  • I Carried The Horn (1951)
  • Goodbye To Hounds (1952)
  • Riders From Afar (1954)
  • Phantom Horse (1955)
  • A Day To Go Hunting (1956)
  • The First Rosette (1956)
  • The Second Mount (1957)
  • Stolen Ponies (1957)
  • The Impossible Horse (1957)
  • Three To Ride (1958)
  • The Lost Pony (1959)
  • Ride By Night (1960)
  • The Horse Sale (1960)
  • For Want Of A Saddle (1960)
  • Giles And The Elephant (1960)
  • The Empty Field (1961)
  • Giles And The Greyhound (1961)
  • The Open Gate (1962)
  • Bandits In The Hills (1962)
  • Giles And The Canal (1962)
  • The Gipsy Children (1962)
  • The Doping Affair (1963, later published as The Pony Dopers)      
  • The Eastmans In Brittany (1964)
  • Granny Comes To Stay (1964)
  • No-One At Home (1964)
  • Homeless Katie (1964)
  • The Boys From The Cafe (1965)
  • The Eastmans Move House (1965)
  • A Dog In A Pram (1965)
  • The Eastmans Find A Boy (1966)
  • The Stolen Car (1966)
  • A Day To Remember (1966)
  • The Lost Cow (1966)
  • Little Black Pony (1967)
  • Robbers In The Night (1967)
  • Room To Let (1968)
  • Nigel Eats His Words (1969)
  • Phantom Horse Comes Home (1970)
  • Riders On The March (1970)
  • Phantom Horse Goes To Ireland (1972)
  • They Rode To Victory(1972)
  • A Pony Scrapbook (1972)
  • I Rode A Winner (1973)
  • A Second Pony Scrapbook (1973)
  • Follyfoot Pony Quiz Book (1974)[5]
  • Black Velvet (1975)
  • Good Riding (non-fiction, 1975)
  • Christine Pullein-Thompson's Book of Pony Stories (1975)
  • A Pony To Love (non-fiction, 1975)
  • Strange Riders At Black Pony Inn (1976)
  • Mystery At Black Pony Inn (1976)
  • Pony Patrol (1977)
  • Pony Patrol S.O.S. (1977)
  • Pony Patrol Fights Back (1977)
  • Christine Pullein-Thompson's Second Book of Pony Stories (1977)
  • Blossom (1978)
  • Pony Parade (1978)
  • Prince At Black Pony Inn (1978)
  • Secrets At Black Pony Inn (1978)
  • Riding For Fun (non-fiction) (1978)
  • Improve Your Riding (non-fiction, 1979)
  • Phantom Horse In Danger (1980)
  • Pony Patrol And The Mystery Horse (1981)
  • Phantom Horse Goes To Scotland (1981)
  • Father Unknown (1981)
  • Black Pioneer (1982)
  • Ponies In The Park (1982)
  • Ponies In The Forest (1983)
  • Ponies In The Blizzard (1984)
  • Wait For Me Phantom Horse (1985)
  • A Home For Jessie (1986)
  • Please Save Jessie (1987)
  • Stay At Home, Ben (1987)
  • Careless Ben (1988)
  • The Big Storm (1988)
  • The Road Through The Hills (1988)
  • Candy Goes To The Gymkhana (1989)
  • Candy Stops A Train (1989)
  • Catastrophe At Black Pony Inn (1989)
  • Good Deeds At Black Pony Inn (1989)
  • Smoke In The Hills (1989)
  • Across The Frontier (1990)
  • Runaway Ben (1990)
  • Come Home, Jessie (1991)
  • The Long Search (1991)
  • I Want That Pony! (1993)
  • A Pony In Distress (1994)
  • The Best Pony For Me! (1995)
  • Horsehaven (1996)
  • Bedtime Pony Stories (1997)
  • Sundance Saves The Day (1997)[6]
  • More Bedtime Pony Stories (1997)
  • The Pony Test (1997)
  • Incredible Pony Tales (1998)
  • Magical Pony Tales (1998)
  • The Pony Picnic (1998)
  • Havoc At Horsehaven (1999)
  • Horsehaven Lives On (1999)
  • A Yo-Yo For Sam (1999)

Dates unknown:

  • Triple Adventure (co-author)

The title The Impossible Horse has also been published under the name of Christine Keir, which may have been a pseudonym, as it is the same story. Also, the book Riding (1983) which is part of the Granada Guides series, has also been published under the same name.

Collectively[edit]

  • It Began With Picotee (1946)
  • Fair Girls and Grey Horses (1996)
  • Pullein-Thompson Treasury Of Horse And Pony Stories (1995)

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Who's Who 2009
  2. ^ |Josephine Pullein-Thompson (obituary), The Telegraph (London), 20 June 2014
  3. ^ a b Christine Pullein-Thompson(obituary), The Telegraph,
  4. ^ "Golden Pen Award, official website". English PEN. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  5. ^ The Follyfoot in the title relates to the Monica Dickens books and the Yorkshire Television series
  6. ^ Based on Julip horses, sold exclusively through their catalogue

External links[edit]