Dick King-Smith

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Dick King-Smith
Born Ronald Gordon King-Smith
(1922-03-27)27 March 1922
Bitton, Gloucestershire, England, UK
Died 4 January 2011(2011-01-04) (aged 88)
Bath, Somerset, England, UK
Pen name Dick King-Smith
Occupation Writer
Nationality British
Ethnicity English
Period 1978–2007
Genre Children's novels, picture books
Notable works The Sheep-Pig (Babe)
Notable awards Guardian Prize
Spouse Myrle (m. 1943–2000) (her death)
Zona Bedding (m. 2001–11) (his death)
Children 3

Ronald Gordon King-Smith OBE, Hon.MEd (27 March 1922 – 4 January 2011),[1] was a prolific English writer of children's books, primarily using the pen name Dick King-Smith. He is best known for The Sheep-Pig (1983), or Babe the Gallant Pig in the US. It was adapted as the movie Babe (1995) and translations have been published in fifteen languages.[2] He was awarded an Honorary Master of Education degree by the University of the West of England in 1999[3] and appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2010 New Year Honours.[4][5] Dick and Myrle had three children – two daughters (Juliet and Lizzie) and one son (Giles).

Dick King-Smith’s first book, The Fox Busters, was published in 1978.


Dick King-Smith grew up in the West Country, where his family ran several paper mills, and was educated at Beaudesert Park School and Marlborough College.[1] He was a soldier in World War II, serving with the Grenadier Guards in Italy and a farmer for 20 years before he became a teacher at Farmborough Primary School and author. King-Smith's first book was The Fox Busters, published in 1978 while he was living and teaching in Farmborough. He was one of Britain's most prolific authors and wrote over a hundred books. In later life he lived in Queen Charlton, a small farming village near Bristol, contributing to the maintenance and conservation of the local area as the vice-president of the Avon Wildlife Trust. He married his first wife, Myrle, in 1943. They had three children Juliet, Giles and Liz.[1] Myrle died in 2000, and King-Smith subsequently married Zona Bedding, a family friend.[6]

He presented a feature on animals on TV-AM's children's programme Rub a Dub Dub.[7] and also appeared regularly (in a similar capacity) on the similarly named Saturday morning TV series Rub-a-Dub Tub (1983).[8]

King-Smith died at his home near Bath, Somerset, on 4 January 2011 at the age of 88. He was survived by three children, 14 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.[9]


King-Smith and The Sheep-pig won the 1984 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children writers.[10]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Eccleshare, Julia (5 January 2011). "Dick King-Smith obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Formats and Editions of The sheep-pig". WorldCat. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Honorary Graduates of the University of the West of England". University of the West of England. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59282. p. 12. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Patrick Stewart leads arts honours with a knighthood". BBC News. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  6. ^ "Animal Magic". The Herald (heraldscotland.com). 2 February 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Dick King-Smith". The Telegraph. 6 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  8. ^ "Rub-a-Dub-Tub". IMDb. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 
  9. ^ "Babe creator Dick King-Smith dies aged 88". BBC News. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2011. 
  10. ^ "Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". guardian.co.uk 12 March 2001. Retrieved 4 August 2012.

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