Gene Kemp

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Gene Kemp née Rushton (27 December 1926 – 4 January 2015) was a British author best known for her children's books. Her first novel, The Pride of Tamworth Pig was published in 1972. She won the British Carnegie Medal for The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler (1977).[1]


Gene Kemp was born in Wiggington, Staffordshire in 1926[2] grew up near Tamworth, Staffordshire, and went to Exeter University. She became a teacher and taught at St Sidwell's School in Exeter in the 1970s.[3]

From 1972 she wrote stories for young readers about a pig named Tamworth, named after the town she grew up in.

Her best known book is The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler, published by Faber's Children's Books in 1977. Set in the fictional Cricklepit School, it charts the pleasures and pains of friendship and growing up. There are several Cricklepit books including Snaggletooth's Mystery, an alternative history of the school, and Gowie Corby Plays Chicken, set one year after The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler and referencing Tyke in several chapters.

Kemp has written ghost stories and fantasy as well as realistic fiction like Seriously Weird which is told from the perspective of the sister of a young man with Asperger syndrome.

She has also turned her work into plays, the most successful and well-known of which is Charlie Lewis Plays for Time, another Cricklepit story.

Gene Kemp was awarded an Honorary MA from Exeter University in 1984.

She lived in Exeter and had three children - a daughter, Judith, from her first marriage, to Norman Pattison, which ended in divorce; another daughter, Chantal, and son, Richard, from her second marriage, to Allan Kemp, who died in 1990. She has three grandchildren and two great grandsons. a[4] Kemp died at the age of 88 on 4 January 2015.[5]


Kemp won two major awards for The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler, published by Faber & Faber in 1977: the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject,[1] and the other from the Children's Rights Workshop.[6]

She made the Smarties Prize shortlist four times, in 1981 for The Clock Tower Ghost, 1985 for Charlie Lewis Plays for Time, 1986 for Juniper and 1990 for Just Ferret.

Selected works[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (Carnegie Winner 1977). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-08-17.
  2. ^ "Penguin Books author biography of Gene Kemp". Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  3. ^ David Cornforth. "Gene Kemp". Exeter Memories. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Children are real people: the stories of Gene Kemp". Childrens Literature in Education. SpringerLink. 10: 131–140. doi:10.1007/BF01146903. Retrieved 2012-08-20. 

External links[edit]

Gene Kemp at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database