Jump to: Overview (2)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (8)  | Personal Quotes (5)

Overview (2)

Born in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
Birth NameSusan Mary Cooper

Spouse (2)

Hume Cronyn (20 July 1996 - 15 June 2003) ( his death)
Nicholas J. Grant (3 August 1963 - 1983) ( divorced) ( 2 children)

Trivia (8)

Began collaborating on plays and teleplays with Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in the 1980s. Tandy died in 1994, and Cooper married Cronyn in 1996.
After graduating with an M.A. in English from Oxford University, she wrote for London's Sunday Times, where Ian Fleming was her boss.
Award-winning author of the fantasy series "The Dark is Rising," set in Cornwall and Wales and dealing with Arthurian legend.
Biography/bibliography in: "Contemporary Authors". New Revision Series, vol. 137, pages 88-96. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2005.
"Over Sea, Under Stone" and "The Dark is Rising" were ALA Notable Books. "The Dark is Rising" won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature, and was runner-up for the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal. "The Grey King" won the Newbery Medal as best children's book of the year.
She became a full-time writer in 1963.
Cooper was a reporter and feature writer for the Sunday London Times from 1956 to 1963.
Her children are Jonathan (b. 1966) and Katharine (b. 1967); her stepchildren are Anne, Bill and Peter.

Personal Quotes (5)

The struggle between the Light and the Dark in my books has more to do with the fact that when I was four World War II broke out. England was very nearly invaded by Germany, and that threat, reinforced by the experience of having people drop bombs on your head, led to a very strong sense of Us and Them. Of course Us is always the good, and Them is always the bad. This sense must have stayed with me, and it put me into contact with all the other times that England has been threatened with invasion. We are such mongrels: we have been invaded over and over and over again from Scandinavia, from Ireland, from the Continent. This same fear and resistance--usually unsuccessful-- has been repeated throughout British history. All that goes into the collective subconscious, and, especially if you come from a generation which went through this experience in childhood, it becomes very much a part of your own imagination. So there is this sympathetic link between my growing up and what it must have been like when the real Arthur--what we know about him--was alive. You find this reflected in the books, especially the last. [1989 interview]
I wrote Over Sea, Under Stone when I was a very young journalist, before I left England. A publishing company called Jonathan Cape, which had published E. Nesbit, had a competition for a family adventure story, and I thought I would go in for this. So the book started off as an adventure story. It doesn't really draw much on Arthurian legend. It makes use of a grail, but not in the same way as the Grail legend. Very early on, however, this character called Merriman turned up, and the book turned itself into a fantasy. Once I was writing fantasy, I don't think I really thought about it. I just felt I'd come home. You don't say to yourself, I am writing fantasy. You don't even say to yourself, I am writing for kids. You just tell the story. ... I've never aimed at an age group. You write something and the publishers decide that. To some extent you're aware of your audience because you don't use enormously long Latinate words, for instance. Even then if somebody were to say, you can't use that word because it's too complicated, you can reply, let the kid look it up. This is the way children learn languages, by coming across words they haven't met before. I don't know whom I'm writing for. I write for me, I suppose. [1989 interview]
Once I found I was writing fantasy which was being published for young adults, I thought, it's very dangerous to read anybody who is writing in this area. So I didn't. As a result, when I finished the last book I had this lovely orgy reading Alan Garner, C.S. Lewis, and a whole bunch of other writers. I enjoyed them enormously, especially Alan Garner. He's wonderful. We met each other, he and I, at a conference years later. It was like meeting your brother! [1989 interview]
The English author J.B. Priestley was a friend of mine, and he used to write to me when I was going through this dreadful homesick period. In one of his letters he said, do not worry about being away from your roots; you will find you write better about a place when you are away from it. That certainly turned out to be true with The Dark Is Rising books. They were immensely British, yet all except the first were written either here in Massachusetts, or on a very small island in the Caribbean where we have a house. [1989 interview]
One result of coming to live in America in 1963 was that I became extremely homesick and turned to reading about not just England, but Britain. Perhaps if I had stayed in England I would have been less focused on things British. I have a strong sense of the mythic history of the land. I grew up in Buckinghamshire, in what was then a countryish area twenty-two miles outside London. I had an awareness of the past that I never had to think about. There was an Iron Age fort a couple of fields away. There was a Roman pavement that somebody had found in his field. Windsor Castle I could see from my bedroom window. Things like that give a sense of layers and layers of time, and of the stories that stick to those layers and develop through them, even though you may not realize that you've got it. It's a great legacy for a writer. I was lucky. [1989 interview]

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