Eve Garnett

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Eve Garnett (9 January 1900 – 5 April 1991) was an English writer and illustrator. She is best known for The Family from One End Street, a 1937 children's novel that features a large, small-town, working-class family.


Garnett was born in Worcestershire[1] and educated at two schools in Devon and at the Alice Ottley School in Worcester. She then went to the Chelsea Polytechnic School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools, and eventually exhibited at the Tate Gallery, the Lefevre Gallery and the New English Art Club.

Garnett was commissioned to illustrate Evelyn Sharp's 1927 book The London Child and the work left her "appalled by conditions prevailing in the poorer quarters of the world's richest city". She determined to show up some of the evils of poverty and extreme class division in the United Kingdom, especially in contemporary London. To that end she worked on a 40-foot mural at the Children's House in Bow, completed a book of drawings with commentary called Is It Well With The Child? (1938), and both wrote and illustrated a story book that dealt with the social conditions of the English working class, which was exceptional in children's literature.

That book, The Family from One End Street, was rejected by several publishers who deemed it "not suitable for the young", but eventually published by Frederick Muller in 1937. It won the second annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's outstanding children's book by a British subject.[2] (It beat Tolkien's The Hobbit among others.) For the 70th anniversary of the Medal, it was named one of the top ten Medal-winning works, selected by a panel to compose the ballot for a public election of the all-time favourite.[3] It is regarded as a classic, having remained in print to the present day.

The manuscript of a sequel, Further Adventures of the Family from One End Street, was damaged in a fire in 1941, and thought to be destroyed, but it was partly deciphered and partly assembled from a magazine and finally published by Heinemann in 1956. A third book in the series was published by Heinemann in 1962, Holiday at the Dew Drop Inn.

She was also an enthusiastic traveller, and spent much of her time in northern latitudes, claiming to have crossed the Arctic Circle 16 times. She was particularly interested in the Dano-Norwegian explorer and missionary Hans Egede, and made many visits to Norway to study his life. Out of this research came a radio play, The Doll's House in the Arctic, and the 1968 book To Greenland's Icy Mountains.

Eve Garnett, who lived for many years in Lewes, Sussex (latterly East Sussex), died in a nursing home there on 5 April 1991.


Garnett wrote seven books which were all self-illustrated.[4][5]

As illustrator[4][5]
  • The London Child (John Lane, 1927), by Evelyn Sharp
  • The Bad Barons of Crashbania: Vol. 42, Continuous Stories, Jolly Books (Blackwell, 1932), by Norman Hunter
  • Is it Well With the Child? (Muller, 1938), "drawings by Eve Garnett ... with an introduction by Marjorie Bowen and a foreword by Walter de la Mare"
  • A Child's Garden of Verses (Penguin, 1948), Robert Louis Stevenson (1870)
  • A Book of the Seasons: an anthology (Oxford University Press, 1952), "made and decorated by Eve Garnett"
  • A Golden Land (Constable, 1958), edited by James Reeves


  1. ^ "Eve Garnett". Penguin Books Authors. Penguin Books. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  2. ^ (Carnegie Winner 1937). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  3. ^ "70 Years Celebration: Anniversary Top Tens". The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  4. ^ a b "Eve Garnett Bibliography: A Collectors Reference Guide". Bookseller World. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  5. ^ a b "Garnett, Eve". WorldCat. Retrieved 2013-05-22.

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