Peter Dickinson (1927-2015)

Author Peter Dickinson, 88, died December 16, 2015 in Winchester, Hampshire on his birthday.

Peter Malcolm de Brissac Dickinson was born December 16, 1927 in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia). He is best known for his numerous works for children and young adults, and is one of only seven authors to win two Carnegie Medals (he was the first); no one has three. His debut YA The Weathermonger (1968) began the Changes SF trilogy, which continued with Heartsease (1969) and The Devil’s Children (1970). Other YA and children’s novels with speculative elements include Emma Tupper’s Diary (1971); The Gift (1973); Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize winner The Blue Hawk (1976); Annerton Pit (1977); Carnegie Medal and Whitbread Children’s Book Award winner Tulku (1979); Healer (1983); Eva (1988); A Bone from a Dry Sea (1992); Time and the Clockmice, Etcetera (1993); The Kin (1998); The Ropemaker (2001) and sequel Angel Isle (2006); The Tears of the Salamander (2003); Inside Grandad (2004); and In the Palace of the Khans (2012). He wrote one unambiguous adult SF novel, The Green Gene (1973).

He published nearly 50 books, predominantly SF and mainstream children’s and YA novels, and adult crime novels and thrillers. Recent notable works include the Elemental trilogy of YA collections, the first two written in collaboration with wife Robin McKinley: Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits (2002), Fire: Tales of Elemental Spirits (2009), and Earth and Air: Tales of Elemental Creatures (2012). He was also an accomplished crime writer, known particularly for his series featuring detective Jimmy Pibble. The first two in the series, Skin Deep (1968) and A Pride of Heroes (1969), won Golden Dagger Awards from the Crime Writers’ Association. King and Joker (1976) is a detective novel set in an alternate England, and was followed by Skeleton-in-Waiting (1989). Other thriller novels with hints of the fantastic include Sleep and His Brother (1971), The Poison Oracle (1974), and Walking Dead (1977).

Some of his short work was collected in Carnegie Medal winner City of Gold and Other Stories from the New Testament (1980), Merlin Dreams (1988), and The Lion Tamer’s Daughter and Other Stories (1997). A selection of his non-fiction appeared in Chance, Luck and Destiny (1975). He edited anthology Hundreds and Hundreds (1984). Dickinson was also an accomplished poet.

Dickinson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1999, was a finalist for the Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 2000, and was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2009 for his services to literature. He is survived by wife Robin McKinley, four children, and six grandchildren.