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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Author Helen Cresswell dies at 71
Helen Cresswell
Helen Cresswell was a prolific writer of children's books
Award-winning author Helen Cresswell has died at the age of 71.

The writer died at her home in Eakring, in Nottinghamshire, on Monday night. She had been suffering from cancer for some time.

Ms Cresswell was best-known for her children's book Lizzie Dripping, about a girl and her witch friend, which was later made into a BBC TV series.

Her other books include The Bagthorpe Saga, Moondial, The Piemakers, The Bongleweed and Stonestruck.

Book prize

During her career, she wrote more than 100 children's books.

In 1989 she won The Phoenix Award for her book The Night Watchmen, while four of her books have been runners-up for the Carnegie Medal.

In 2000 she was awarded a Bafta Children's Writers' Award.

As well as Lizzie Dripping, she also wrote the screenplay for other TV series, including The Secret World of Polly Flint, The Haunted School and Five Children and It.

Ms Cresswell's daughter, Caroline Rowe, told the BBC News website that her mother loved writing for children.

She was very positive and still excited by things, even throughout her illness
Candida Rowe, daughter

"Mum was very special and she had many attributes that she brought to children in her stories," she said.

"She went around schools and, from what I can tell, she inspired children to read and taught parents the importance of reading to children from a young age.

"Her favourite was Winter of the Birds which was one of her early books. Another one she really liked was The Piemakers, which is based on the pies being made in Denby Dale."

Ms Cresswell's other daughter, Candida Rowe, said her personal favourite was A Gift from Winklesea, but admitted she was "very bad" at getting around to read her mother's books.

She said: "I always had to take my mum's books as presents to children's parties and I was always very embarrassed by that. Looking back now, I'm sure they appreciated it."


Ms Rowe added: "My mum was very much her own person. One moment she could be reading Alan Bennett and the next watching Big Brother.

"She enjoyed life. She was very positive and still excited by things, even throughout her illness."

In an interview, Ms Cresswell once described her books as "explorations".

"I write a title, then set out to find where that particular road will take me... All my books have meanings as well as stories.

"I do not particularly believe in what most people call reality. I only really believe in truth of the imagination," she added.

Caroline Rowe said her mother's writing process was "remarkable".

"Mum never plotted her books, she just wrote," she said.

"Whatever she first wrote on her manuscript was exactly what was printed in her books. She never edited.

"She was a very special person."

Helen Cresswell's literary legacy
27 Sep 05 |  Entertainment


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