23 May 1935 |
Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England
|Genres||Children's fantasy novels|
|Notable work(s)||The Dark is Rising series|
Susan Mary Cooper (born 23 May 1935) is an English-born American author of children's books. She is best known for The Dark Is Rising, a contemporary fantasy series set in England and Wales, which incorporates British mythology, such as the Arthurian legends, and Welsh folk heroes. For that work, she won in 2012 the lifetime Margaret A. Edwards Award, which the American Library Association annually confers upon an author and specified writings for "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature". Two of the novels were named the year's best English-language book with an "authentic Welsh background" by the Welsh Books Council.
Born in 1935 in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, Susan Cooper lived in Buckinghamshire, just northwest of London, until she was 21, when her parents moved to her grandmother's village of Aberdovey, Wales. She attended Slough High School and then earned a degree in English from the University of Oxford.
After University graduation, she worked as a reporter for The Sunday Times of London under Ian Fleming, and wrote in her spare time. During that period she began work on the Dark Is Rising series and finished her debut novel, the science fiction Mandrake, published by Hodder & Stoughton in 1964.
Cooper emigrated to the United States in 1963 to marry Nicholas J. Grant, Professor of Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She then became a full-time writer, focusing on the Dark Is Rising series and on Dawn of Fear (1970), a novel based on her childhood wartime experiences. Eventually she would write fiction for both children and adults, a series of picture books, film screenplays, and works for the stage.
In July 1996, she married the Canadian-American actor and her sometime co-author Hume Cronyn, the widower of Jessica Tandy. (Cronyn and Tandy had starred in the 1982 Broadway production of Foxfire, written by Cooper and Cronyn.) Cooper and Cronyn remained married until his death in June 2003.
- J. B. Priestley: portrait of an author (London: Heinemann, 1970) — biography of the English writer and socialist John Boynton Priestley
- The Magic Maker: a portrait of John Langstaff and his Christmas Revels (Candlewick Press, 2011) — juvenile biography of John Langstaff, founder of the Revels
Other nonfiction 
- Behind the Golden Curtain: a view of the USA (Hodder & Stoughton and Scribner's, 1965)
- Dreams and Wishes: Essays on Writing for Children (Simon & Schuster, 1996)
- Foxfire, Cooper and Hume Cronyn (Samuel French Inc, 1982), stage playbook — produced on Broadway as Foxfire (1982) — based on the Foxfire books
Cooper wrote four screenplays produced for television, one supernatural tale for children and three more adaptations of books about Appalachia (as Foxfire).
- Dark Encounter (Shadows, Series 2; Thames Television, mid-1970s)
- The Dollmaker (ABC, 1984)
- To Dance with the White Dog (Hallmark, 1993)
- Jewel (CBS, 2001)
Children's picture books 
† Another historical novel is reported forthcoming in August, Ghost Hawk, featuring the spirit of a Wampanoag, people decimated by European disease, who witnesses the transformation of Massachusetts by the Plymouth Colony.
Short fiction 
- "Muffin", Amy Ehrlich, ed., When I Was Your Age: Original Stories about Growing Up (Volume 1) (Candlewick) — story set in World War II England (as Dawn of Fear)
- "Ghost Story", Don't Read This! (US, Front Street), Fingers on the Back of the Neck (UK, Puffin) — collection supporting IBBY
- Our White House: Looking In, Looking Out (Candlewick) — Cooper wrote one piece of this mixed-genre NCBLA collaboration
- The Exquisite Corpse Adventure (Candlewick) — Cooper wrote one episode of this sequential story collaboration of children's authors and illustrators by NCBLA for the LC website
- "The Caretakers", Haunted (Anderson Press collection, UK only)
- 1974, Newbery Honor (runner up for the Medal), The Dark Is Rising (1973 novel)
- 1976, Newbery Medal, The Grey King
- 1976, Tir na n-Og Award, The Grey King
- 1978, Tir na n-Og Award, Silver on the Tree
- 1989, B'nai B'rith Janusz Korczak Literary Prize from, Seaward
- 2012, Margaret A. Edwards Award, The Dark is Rising (1965–1977 series)
See also 
- Elizabeth Hand. "Susan Cooper". Richard Bleiler, ed. Supernatural Fiction Writers: Contemporary Fantasy and Horror. New York: Thomson/Gale, 2003. Pp. 239–44. ISBN 0-684-31250-6.
- "Susan Cooper wins 2012 Edwards Award for The Dark Is Rising Sequence". ALA Press Release, January 23, 2012. American Library Association (ALA). Retrieved 2012-04-19.
- "Margaret A. Edwards Winners" (to 2008). Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). ALA. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
As of March 2013 the award homepage at YALSA, "Edwards Award", incorporates a list of recipients to 2012, each linked to a version of his or her award citation.
- "Tir na n-Og Awards". Welsh Books Council (WBC).
"Tir na n-Og awards Past Winners". WBC. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- Susan Cooper at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2012-03-05. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
- Foxfire at the Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- The Seeker at the Internet Movie Database Retrieved 2012-03-25.
- "Author Uncertain About 'Dark' Leap to Big Screen". Margot Adler. National Public Radio. 2007. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
- One repeated source of biographical data is Susan Cooper, Dreams and Wishes: Essays on Writing for Children, Margaret K. McElderry (date?). ISBN 0-689-80736-8.
- "J. B. Priestley: portrait of an author". Library of Congress Catalog Record (LCC). Retrieved 2013-02-12.
- According to the publisher description, Cooper is "a friend and writer for the Revels".
"The magic maker: a portrait of John Langstaff, creator of the Christmas ...". LCC record. Retrieved 2013-02-12.
- . The Lost Land of Susan Cooper. Susan Cooper. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- Ghost Hawk. LCC record. Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- "Newbery Medal and Honor Books, 1922–Present". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). ALA. Retrieved 2012-03-15.
Further reading 
- Four British Fantasists: Place and Culture in the Children's Fantasies of Penelope Lively, Alan Garner, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper, Charles Butler (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006)
- The Wand in the Word: Conversations with Writers of Fantasy, Leonard Marcus (Candlewick, 2006)
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Susan Cooper|
- The Lost Land of Susan Cooper — including at "About Writing for Children" links to articles and interviews available online
- NCBLA Board of Directors: Susan Cooper
- Susan Cooper at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Susan Cooper at FantasyLiterature — including synopses, cover art, and reviews