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APW/8/1 - General correspondence

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General correspondence
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364 items
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Introduction: Most items contain information on more than one title written by DKS. See also files on individual book titles. Only a selection of material from the correspondence files is described here.

While teaching at a primary school, DKS writes to Linda Bawden Allen and submits his story RIFF RAFF. He describes his publishing experience so far with Gollancz and Puffin and the advice he received from fellow writer, Peter Dickinson. He describes the signing of his first contract “a typical first author’s one, and one signs in a dream.” While getting started with a fourth book he writes “I’m coming to the conclusion that I really do need an agent.” (Letter, 23/2/79).

DKS replies to his first letter from Pamela Todd. “Forgive the instant familiarity … please throw away my surname also!” He writes of MAGNUS POWERMOUSE “He was rather based on one of my grandsons, a person given to loud peremptory command and instant pugnacity but actually possessing a heart as soft as junket.” Letter, 21/9/82.

DKS is in the process of filming Dick and Dodo on the television programme Rub-a-Dub-Tub. He asks after Gollancz’ progress of CHEWING THE CUD (autobiography), 18/2/83.

DKS comments on the reaction of Tony Lacey (Penguin) to THE QUEEN’S NOSE. He thinks THE SHEEP-PIG should be sent to Lacey, 10/5/83.

Correspondence concerning TV-am and a book based on Dick and Dodo’s slot on their television programme Rub-a-Dub-Tub. The terms of the contract for DKS’ weekly slot on the programme as well as for a book or any resulting merchandise is discussed at length. Anne Wood’s contribution as the inspirational force behind the Dick and Dodo slot is explained. DKS includes a drawing depicting a victorious Pamela Todd over Geoffrey Rutland (TV-am), 1983.

DKS is not sure whether he can meet Joanna Goldsworthy’s requirements for changes to HARRY’S MAD and CHEWING THE CUD. He mentions having re-written for her THE WATER-HORSE before having “had the sense to stick it in the bottom drawer.” He describes the filming progress of Dick and Dodo. Letter to PT, 24/9/83.

- 4 leaves of rhymes/limericks.

DKS first mentions his idea of writing a “Life of Jesus-in-animal-form” (letter to PT, 16/12/83).

- Press-cutting on DKS. ‘Happy ever after’ by Stephanie Nettell. The Guardian, 22/3/84.

“Political snarl-ups at TV-am” meant that DKS would not be doing any more filming, 12/7/84.

Correspondence with the World Wildlife Fund for a story on deserts, which DKS declines, October 1984.

- Typescript copy of SIR GALAHAD (rhyming prose).

Helen Trisk (Hamish Hamilton) receives DKS’ story DUMPLING, it’s charming and witty but a bit too long for the Cartwheel series, 19/6/85.

DKS writes of his 3 grandchildren, 4/1/86.

DKS writes of the editorial comments being suggested by Helen Trisk (Hamish Hamilton) for THE HODGEHEG. “I don’t want the story mucked about with like that … Tell Helen (in your own words) to put her red pencil where the monkey put the Mars bar, and try Orchard and Heinemann, in that order.” Letter to PT, 3/2/86.

DKS writes of a letter he received telling him of having been accepted as a member of the Republican Senatorial Inner Circle, 8/2/86 and 14/4/86.

DKS supplies Walker Books with a story (TRY COUNTING SHEEP) within 3 days and doesn’t receive a response for weeks and weeks, 8/2/86.

Details of a change in the editorial team at Penguin, with an integration of Kestrel and Puffin, letter from Liz Attenborough to PT, 5/3/86.

DKS describes Liz Attenborough’s (Puffin) request for non-fiction stories on “animals you might see in the country, one in the town”. This is in conjunction with the RSPCA, 5/4/86.

DKS had spoken to Chris Kloet about A WINDY KNIGHT “it can’t be called that of course, all children to date have vulgarly misconstrued the adj.” (Letter, DKS to Lemmie, 7/5/86).

DKS encourages PT to return to work after the birth of Chloe. Yorkshire TV had asked him to be involved in a pre-school television programme to succeed Puddle Lane. DKS had been interviewed by Roger McGough for a Puffin cable television video. He would be meeting Ingrid Selberg at Heinemann to talk about the short story TRY COUNTING SHEEP. He is finding it hard to get started on the Puffin books “I am as usual longing to dream up another fantasy story as is my wont, instead of solemnly recording how many pounds of earth a mole can shift in an hour (30)”, 9/5/86.

DKS writes of his wife’s ill health, that he is now focussing on the three animal books for Puffin (working title: KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED), and he quotes Liz Attenborough’s praise for NOAH’S BROTHER, 11/6/86.

- Letter, PT to DKS on her daughter, Chloe, 2/7/86.

DKS decides he does not want SOPHIE’S SNAIL in a mixed collection and will write more stories to go with her (Selina Hastings/Walker Books). He’s agreed to write five more stories for TRY COUNTING SHEEP (Jane Fior/Heinemann), 4/7/86.

DKS seeks advice re donations to RIBA for the production of audio books, (December 1985 – January 1986).

DKS writes of his wife’s ill health; the re-use of JOHN (the fourth Granada story) [IT’S A GOOD HONEST NAME] for Mara Bergman at Walker Books, 16/7/86.

David Lloyd (Walker Books) offers £5,000 for the world rights for a SOPHIE book of half-a-dozen stories. This is linked to a bedtime reading series for Sainsbury, PT to DKS, 7/8/86; and PT to DKS, 27/8/86.

DKS submits FRIENDS AND BROTHERS, six stories for Jane Fior at Heinemann. The original, TRY COUNTING SHEEP, was written for Walker Books but didn’t suit. Heinemann suggested it be made into a single picture book or be added with four or five stories to make a story book. DKS writes “William and Charlie are in fact my number four and number five grandchildren and do live this life of perpetual warfare with occasional truces.” He describes writing a couple of stories for the Kestrel Read Alone series for Liz Attenborough [Puffin], 25/8/86.

DKS writes of expecting his second set of twin grandchildren, letter to PT 11/11/86.

- Manuscript of a short story HAIRY MARY.

- THE EXCITEMENT OF BEING ERNEST is offered to Polly Dunnett (MacDonald & Company), 16/1/87.
DKS is one of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Award judges, letter 17/2/87.

- Copy typescripts of ZAP, MORTIBLE THE MAN BIRD, and IT’S A GOOD HONEST NAME. - Original typescript of FEAR NO BEAR.

DKS tells PT of the birth of his second set of twin grandchildren, Daniel and Thomas. “Brings our grandparental score to ten”, 22/4/87.

DKS tells PT of a medical operation he will be undergoing and how it may impact on his filming for Yorkshire Television, 12/7/87. Post-operative comments, 29/7/87.

DKS discusses the idea of forming himself into a limited company for taxation purposes, letter to PT 30/7/87.

PT informs Georges Borchardt agency that from then on DKS would like to be represented by Ellen Levine in the US, 21/1/88.

DKS writes to PT about the split in royalties with the illustrator of MARTIN’S MICE, Jez Alborough, 18/5/88.

- A collection of typescript poems, which are returned by Orchard Books as they didn’t have sufficient good material for an anthology of new verse. These include BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR WELLIES ON and one about the correct feeding of a guinea-pig [May 1988].

DKS explores with PT his initial thoughts on the story which later became PIGS AND PIZZAS, 19/5/88.

Correspondence with Marvel Productions Ltd (California) for DKS to write a script for an animated television series based on CHARLOTTE’S WEB. Rod Hall (AP Watt) warns “there is no question of Dick coming to America. The fear of flying and water absolutely preclude that possibility.” (Correspondence September – December 1989).
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