Alison Prince was born in Beckenham, Kent (now in Greater London) and grew up in South London. She went to a girls' grammar school, where she enjoyed grammar and Latin, but not maths. Her parents were from Scotland and Yorkshire. Her father was a keen pianist, and Prince herself still plays the clarinet. As a child she enjoyed visiting Scottish relatives in Glasgow.
After completing a degree course at the Slade School of Art, where she had won a scholarship, Prince found only casual, low-paid jobs unrelated to art. She later took a postgraduate teaching diploma at Goldsmith's College, then taught art at the Elliott Comprehensive School, in Putney. She married a fellow teacher there, had three children, which interrupted her teaching career, and turned instead to occasional journalism. After the marriage collapsed, she ran a small farm in Suffolk for eight years.
From television to books
Prince later moved into writing for children's television, achieving fame with the Trumpton series for pre-schoolers, first screened in 1967. Her first book was Joe and a Horse and other stories about Joe from 'Watch with Mother', with Joan Hickson, a 1968 spin-off from the BBC pre-school program Watch with Mother.[a] In the late 1970s, she turned to writing books for children, some based on historical characters. They include My Royal Story about Catherine of Aragon, which was re-released in 2010. How's Business (1987), set in World War II, made the shortlist for the Nestle Smarties Book Prize.
The Sherwood Hero (1995) is a modern-day Robin Hood story for young adults, about a girl stealing a credit card from her father's client, drawing £100, attempting to hand it out to the poor in the streets of Glasgow, and then coping with the guilt. For this Alison Prince was a joint winner (with Philip Pullman) of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers. Her thriller Oranges and Murder was the Scottish Arts Council Children's Book of the Year in 2002. Translations of her books have been published in several languages, including Danish, German, Japanese, and Welsh.
Mainly for adults, Prince wrote well-received biographies of Kenneth Grahame (1994, reissued 2009) and Hans Christian Andersen (1998), a collection of essays on formative thinking, two booklets of poetry, and two volumes of pieces that originally appeared in a local Arran newspaper.
Forbidden Soldier, a children's book about the second phase of the English Civil War, appeared in 2014, as did The Lost King: Richard III and the Princes in the Tower, a biography of Richard III, whose remains were dug up in 2013 in a Leicester car park.
* These titles are or have recently been available in the UK, according to the websites of major internet booksellers.
- Forbidden Soldier (2014)*
- The Lost King (2014)*
- No Ordinary Love Song (2011)*
- Henry VIII's Wives (2011)*
- Catherine of Aragon (2010)*
- Web (2010)*
- Elizabeth (2010)*
- Tudor Stories for Girls (2009)*
- The Sherwood Nightmare (2008)
- Outbreak (2008)*
- Help (2008)*
- Princes in the Tower (2008)*
- Speed (2006)
- Jacoby's Game (2006)*
- Doodlebug Summer (2006)*
- Smoke (2005)
- Tower-Block Pony (2004)
- The Summerhouse (2004)
- Luck (2004)*
- Anne Boleyn and Me: the diary of Elinor Valjean, London 1525–1536 (2004)*
- Three Blind Eyes (2003)*
- The Whifflet Train (2003)
- Spud (2003)
- Turnaround (2002)*
- Oranges and Murder (2002)
- Dora Saves the Prince (2002)
- Boojer (2002)
- The Fortune Teller (2001)
- My Tudor Queen (2001)*
- Bumble (2001)
- Bird Boy (2001)*
- Dear Del (2001)*
- Second Chance (2000)*
- Acts of Union (2000)
- A Nation Again (2000)
- A Biker's Ghost (2000)
- The Biggish Ewe (1999)
- Dear Del (1999)
- Cat Number Three (1999)*
- Hans Christian Andersen: the fan dancer (1998)*
- Magic Dad (1997)
- Fergus, Fabulous Ferret (1997)
- Fatso's Rat (1997)
- The Witching Tree (1996)
- The Sherwood Hero (1995)
- On Arran (1994)
- Kenneth Grahame: an innocent in the Wild Wood (1994)*
- Having Been in the City (1994)*
- A Dog Called You (1993)
- A Book of Arran Poetry (edited with Cicely Gill, 1993)
- The Necessary Goat (1992)
- Blue Moon and other stories (1988)
- A Haunting Refrain (1988)
- How's Business? (1987)
- The Type One Super Robot (1986)
- The Others (1986)
- Nick's October (1986)
- A Job for Merv (1986)
- Rock On, Mill Green (1985)
- Scramble! (1984)
- Night Landings (illustrated by Edward Mortelmans, 1983)
- A Spy at Mill Green (1983)
- The Sinister Airfield (illus. Edward Mortelmans, 1982)
- Mill Green on Stage (1982)
- Mill Green on Fire (1982)
- Haunted Children (1982)
- Who Wants Pets? (1980)
- The Turkey's Nest (1979)
- The Night I Sold My Boots (1979)
- Whosaurus? Dinosaurus, with Joan Hickson (1975)
- The Doubting Kind (1975)
- Joe and the Nursery School, with Joan Hickson (1972)
- Joe Moves House, with Joan Hickson (1972)
- The Joe Annual, with Joan Hickson (1971)
- The Red Alfa (1971)
- The House on the Common (1969)
- Joe and a Horse and other stories about Joe from 'Watch with Mother', with Joan Hickson (BBC, 1968)
- Prince was scriptwriter for the Watch with Mother "Joe" subseries in autumn 1966 and spring 1971. Joan Hickson (not the actress) was production designer for "Joe".
- Alison Prince at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 4 June 2013. 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.
- "Faber author page on Alison Prince". Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "British Council page on Alison Prince". Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- "Publisher's page on Alison Walker". Retrieved 25 April 2012.[dead link]
- Joe and a Horse in libraries (WorldCat catalog). Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". guardian.co.uk. 12 March 2001. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Books from Scotland site Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "WorldCat on Alison". Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- The Necessary Goat (Glasgow: Taranis, 1992). Scottish Poetry Library site. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- Having Been in the City (Edinburgh: Taranis, ); The Whifflet Train (Mariscat Press, 2003). Scottish Poetry Society site. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- "Web Site of Alison Prince". Retrieved 24 April 2012.
- Amazon listings Retrieved 11 October 2014.; author's website. Retrieved 1 December 2013.
- "[Short notes on Alison Prince's works]". Scottish Book Trust. Archived from the original on 13 September 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- Patrick Kingsley (20 February 2012). "How we made: Alison Prince and Brian Cant on Trumpton". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 April 2012.
- "Alison Prince". Trumptonshire Web. Retrieved 25 April 2012. – includes 1966 photograph
- Trumpton. Episode 6 – The Mayor's Birthday (part 1; part 2). YouTube. Retrieved 25 April 2012
- Alison Prince. "The proper use of hot air". Scottish Review. Retrieved 25 April 2012.