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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rosemary Weir

Rosemary Weir was born in Kimberley, South Africa, on 22 July 1905, the daughter of George Alfred Lawrence Green (the editor of Cape Argus) and his wife Katherine (nee Bell). She was educated privately in South Africa and at schools in England where she trained for the stage, becoming a partner in a touring theatrical company, pleaying one-night stands in rural districts of england and Wales for three years. Later she turned to farming and North wales and Devonshire and taught elocution and sewing in a school, ran a furniture renovating business and worked as a domestic and cook, both privately and in hotels and lodges. During the Second World War she served with the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry before being invalided out.

She did not start writing until she was already over 50 but produced a respectable number of books over the next twenty-five years, later claiming, "I remembered my own childhood very clearly and perhaps my books for children were a way of returning to a happy time in my life. On the whole I have enjoyed writing for younger children, The Smallest Dog in the World being my own favourite." Apart from her writing for children, she also wrote for the BBC, adapting The Secret Journey and penning a series entitled Strange Tales.

Margaret Greaves, in Twentieth Century Children's Writers, discusses a number of her books, and sums up her entry by saying that it is her "books for older readers that show Rosemary Weir as an original and perceptive writer. The characterization is strong and clear, including satisfactory and fruitful relationships with adults as well as children. She stumulates interest by developing an unusual situation, but through it she explores the emotional experiences common to most children. She is concerned with the problems of growing up, but she makes them the material of art and not of social therapy."

She was married to Napier Weir in 1931 (they later seperated before his death in 1973), and had one daughter, Alison. She lived in Somerset where she died in 1994, aged 89.

Novels
The Secret Journey. London, Max Parrish, 1957.
The Secret of Cobbetts Farm. London, Max Parrish, 1957.
No. 10 Green Street. London, Max Parrish, 1958.
The Honeysuckle Line. London, Max Parrish, 1959; as Robert's Rescued Railway, New York, F. Watt, 1960.
Island of Birds. London, Max Parrish, 1959.
Great Days in Green Street. London, Max Parrish, 1960.
The Hunt for Harry. London, Max Parrish, 1960.
Little Lion's Real Island, illus. W. F. Phillipps. London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1960.
Pineapple Farm, illus. Hugh Marshall. London, Max Parrish, 1960.
The House in the Middle of the Road. London, Max Parrish, 1961.
Albert the Dragon, illus. Quentin Blake. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1961.
Tania Takes the Stage. London, Hutchinson, 1961.
What a Lark, illus. B. S. Biro. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1961.
Soap-Box Derby, illus. B. S. Brio. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1962; Princetown, N.J., Van Nostrend, 1965.
Top Secret. London, Max Parrish, 1962.
Black Sheep. London, Max Parrish, 1963; as Mystery of the Black Sheep, New York, Criterion Books, 1964.
The Smallest Dog on Earth, illus. Charles Pickard. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1963.
Further Adventures of Albert the Dragon, illus. Quentin Blake. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1964.
The Star and the Flame, illus. William Stobbs. London, Faber & Faber, 1964; New York, Ariel Books, 1964.
Mike's Gang, illus. Charles Pickard. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1965.
A Patch of Green. London, Max Parrish, 1965.
The Real Game, illus. Aedwin Darroll. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1965; as The Heirs to Ashton Manor, New York, Dial Press, 1966.
The Boy From Nowhere, illus. Dennis Turner. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1966.
Boy on a Brown Horse. London, H. Hamilton, 1967; New York, Hawthorn Books, 1971.
High Courage, illus. Ian Ribbons. London, Faber, 1967; New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1967.
Pyewacket, illus. Charles Pickard. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1967.
Albert the Dragon and the Centaur, illus. Quentin Blake. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1968
The Foxwood Flyer, illus. Robert Hales. London, H. Hamilton, 1968.
No Sleep for Angus, illus. Elisabeth Grant. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1969.
Summer of the Silent Hand, illus. Lynette Hemmant. Leicester, Brockhampton Press, 1969.
The Lion and the Rose, illus. Richard Cuffari. New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970; London, Abelard-Schuman, 1972.
The Three Red Herrings. Nashville, T. Nelson, 1972.
Blood Royal, illus. Richard Cuffari. New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973.
Uncle Barney and the Sleep-Destroyer, illus. Carolyn Dinan. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1974.
Albert and the Dragonettes, illus. Gerald Rose. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1977.
Uncle Barney and the Shrink-Drink, illus. Carolyn Dinan. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1977.
Albert's World Tour, illus. David McKee. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1978.
Pyewacket and Son, illus. Charles Pickard. London, Abelard-Schuman, 1980.
Heksepoot En Seun, illus. Maryna Huyser. Pretoria, S. Africa, Juventus, 1983.

Novels as Catherine Bell
Devon Venture. London, Collins, 1965.

Non-fiction
A Dog of Your Own. Do's and don'ts for young dog-owners, illus. K. F. Barker. London, George G. Harrap & Co., 1960.
The Young David Garrick, illus. Anne Linton. London, Max Parrish, 1963; New York, Roy Publishers, 1964.
The Man Who Built a City. A life of Sir Christopher Wren. New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1971.

Radio Plays
The Off-White Elephant (broadcast 1958).

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