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 was from 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. 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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