Penelope Jane Farmer (born 1939) is an English fiction writer best known for children's fantasy novels.
Farmer was born as a fraternal twin in Westerham, Kent, on 14 June 1939. She was the third child of Hugh Robert MacDonald (died 26 May 2004) and Penelope Boothby Farmer. Her parents and the medical staff at the hospital were not aware of her presence until some 25 minutes after the birth of her twin sister Judith. Throughout Farmer's life, being a twin has been a defining element of her understanding of her identity. The twins have an older brother, Tim, and a younger sister, Sally.
Farmer was known in 2012 to be living on Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. She there described herself as "a writer – published for many years, now struggling", and listed "her grandchildren" among those she loved and missed. Other relations were mentioned: the departure of her daughter and a granddaughter (23 April 2004). The 22 April 2010 entry states that her son was among those staying with her, with his daughters aged eight and twelve.[better source needed]
Farmer's first publication was The China People, a collection of literary fairy tales for young people, in 1960. One story written for this collection was judged too long to include. This was re-written as the first chapter of her first novel for children, The Summer Birds. In 1963, this received a Carnegie Medal commendation and was cited as an American Library Association Notable Book. The Summer Birds was soon followed by its sequels, Emma in Winter (1966) and Charlotte Sometimes (1969), and by A Castle of Bone (1972), Year King (1977), Thicker than Water (1989), Penelope: A Novel (1993), and Granny and Me (1998).
Farmer stated that she, while writing Emma in Winter, did not realize that identity was such a predominant theme in the novel until she encountered Margery Fisher's comments on the book. She had a similar realization, this time on her own, while writing Charlotte Sometimes.
- The China People (1960)
- The Summer Birds (1962)
- Magic Stone (1964)
- Emma in Winter (1966) – sequel
- Sea Gull (1966)
- Charlotte Sometimes (1969) – sequel
- Serpent's Teeth: The Story of Cadmus (1971)
- Daedalus and Icarus (1971)
- Story of Persephone (1972)
- A Castle of Bone (1972)
- William and Mary (1974)
- August the Fourth (1975)
- Heracles (1975)
- Year King (1977)
- Beginnings: Creation Myths of the World (1978)
- Standing in the Shadow (1984)
- Away from Home (1987)
- Eve: Her Story (1988)
- Glasshouses (1989)
- Snakes and Ladders (1993)
- Thicker Than Water (1993)
- Two, or: The Book of Twins and Doubles (1996)
- Penelope: A Novel (1996)
- Sisters: An Anthology (1999)
- Virago Book of Grandmothers (2000)
- Goodnight Ophelia (2015)
- "Dictionary of Literary Biography : Penelope (Jane) Farmer". www.bookrags.com. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
- Farmer, Penelope (1996). Two, or The Book of Twins & Doubles. London: Virago Press. p. 11.
- Something About the Author. Something About the Author Series. 105. Gale. 1999. p. 64. ISBN 0787621269.
- Anita Silvey, ed: Children's books and their creators (New York, Houghton Mifflin, 1995), p. 238.
- "Blogger: User Profile: granny p". www.blogger.com. Retrieved 18 February 2011.
- Penelope, Fisher (1976). in Geoff Fox, Graham Hammond, Terry Jones, Frederic Smith, Kenneth Sterck, eds. Writers, Critics, and Children. New York: Agathon Press. p. 60. ISBN 0-87586-054-0.
- Vulpes Libris Retrieved 29 January 2017.