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In 2002 he was the recipient of the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature. At the award ceremony for that prize, which he was very proud to receive, he promised to spend his time in future making fewer speeches and writing more books.
When he is not writing books he like's to draw and to make things out of wood. he also like's to play the piano. he'd like to play it well, but he can't, so the rest of the family has to put up with him playing it badly.
He has also written a number of shorter stories which, for want of a better term, he call's fairy tales. They include The Firework-Maker's Daughter, I Was a Rat!, and Clockwork, or All Wound Up. This is a kind of story he finds very enjoyable, though immensely difficult to write.
However, his most well-known work is the trilogy His Dark Materials, beginning with Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the USA) in 1995, continuing with The Subtle Knife in 1997, and concluding with The Amber Spyglass in 2000. These books have been honoured by several prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Award, and (for The Amber Spyglass) the Whitbread Book of the Year Award - the first time in the history of that prize that it was given to a children's book.
His views on education are eccentric and unimportant, however. His only real claim to anyone's attention lies in his writing. He has published nearly twenty books, mostly of the sort that are read by children, though he happy to say that the natural audience for his work seems to be a mixed one - mixed in age, that is, though the more mixed in every other way as well, the better.
His first children's book was Count Karlstein (1982, republished in 2002). That was followed by The Ruby in the Smoke (1986), the first in a quartet of books featuring the young Victorian adventurer, Sally Lockhart. He did a great deal of research for the background of these stories, and he doesn't intend to let it lie unused, so there will almost certainly be more of them.
Philip Pullman was born in Norwich in 1946, and educated in England, Zimbabwe, and Australia, before his family settled in North Wales. He received his secondary education at the excellent Ysgol Ardudwy, Harlech, and then went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English, though he never learned to read it very well.
He found his way into the teaching profession at the age of 25, and taught at various Oxford Middle Schools before moving to Westminster College in 1986, where he spent eight years involved in teaching students on the B.Ed. course. He has maintained a passionate interest in education, which leads him occasionally to make foolish and ill-considered remarks alleging that not everything is well in our schools. His main concern is that an over-emphasis on testing and league tables has led to a lack of time and freedom for a true, imaginative and humane engagement with literature.