Ewan Clarkson

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Ewan Clarkson (1929–2010) was an English author specialising in books about nature, particularly wild animals.

Life and career[edit]

Clarkson was born in Workington on 23 January 1929.[1][2] He was educated at Altrincham Grammar School and served in the Royal Army Medical Corps between 1947-49.[2]

Clarkson, who before becoming a full-time writer worked as a veterinary surgeon, was later to state that "for twenty-five years I laboured under the illusion that I was a scientist. I worked as a laboratory assistant after school to study for my Bachelor of Science. Then I was a veterinarian for the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals. When I realised that I became too emotionally involved with my charges [...] I rebelled against the objective, unemotional approach of the scientist and went to Devon where I could write".[3] Before the publication of his first book he also worked as a beach photographer, rabbit farmer, and as a lorry driver for the Ministry of Defence at Denbury Camp, Newton Abbot.[2]

His first book was Break for Freedom, also published in the United States as Syla, the Mink (1968), telling the story of a mink escaping from a fur farm in Devon, and showing the influence of Henry Williamson's stories about Devon wildlife. Clarkson gave a particular focus to the impact of man's activities on nature, a theme he developed in subsequent works, following Break for Freedom with Halic, the Story of a Grey Seal in 1970, and a number of other novels and non-fiction wildlife books. He was an early critic of the use of pesticides and several of his works explore the negative effects on the environment of intensive farming methods.[2]

Clarkson's books often appeared on both adults' and children's lists, and he stated that education was one of the main purposes of his writing.[2] Clarkson also wrote several books on animals aimed specifically at younger children, as well as many magazine articles about angling: an accomplished fisherman, he was regarded as a pioneer of saltwater fly fishing techniques.

Clarkson, who lived in Newton Abbot, died on 19 April 2010.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Clarkson married in 1951 and had two children.[2]

Selected bibliography[edit]

  • Break for Freedom (1968) (U.S.A. Title: Syla, the Mink)
  • Halic: The Story of a Gray Seal (1970)
  • The Running of the Deer (1972)
  • In The Shadow Of The Falcon (1973)
  • Wolf Country: A Wilderness Pilgrimage (1975)
  • The Badgers of Summercombe (1977)
  • Many-forked Branch (1980)
  • The Wake of the Storm (1983)
  • Ice Trek (1986)
  • King of the Wild (1990)
  • The Flight of the Osprey (1996)


  1. ^ International Who's Who of Authors and Writers 2004, Routledge, 2003, p.105. ISBN 978-1-85743-179-7
  2. ^ a b c d e f Lewis, N. (1978) "Ewan Clarkson" in Twentieth Century Children's Writers, Macmillan, pp. 270-1
  3. ^ Commire, A. Something about the author, v.9, Gale Research, 1976, 37
  4. ^ Ewan Clarkson 1929-2010 Archived 18 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine, Upper Teign Fishing Association

External links[edit]