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Susan Cooper Children's Author

Who Is Susan Cooper?

Susan Cooper is a children’s writer I feel a real affinity for. Her ‘Dark is Rising’ sequence felt like an integral part of my childhood.

Whenever I review one of these books, the response from readers shows just how many people feel the same about her writing.

I was born in Berkshire, not far from Buckinghamshire where Susan Cooper grew up. A generation apart, we went to the same Oxford college (Somerville). She read English and I read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.

She set two of her most famous books (Over Sea, Under Stone and Greenwitch) in the West Country, where my mother’s family come from. Both my parents and her mother were teachers.

One way or another, it feels like her writing has always been a part of my life.

Susan Cooper was born in 1935 and grew up in the village of Burnham in Buckinghamshire. The county is close to Berkshire, where Windsor features a great park that is the setting for some of her most dramatic action in The Dark is Rising.

When she was 21 her parents moved to her grandmother’s village of Aberdyfi in Wales. The last two novels in the ‘Dark is Rising’ sequence (The Grey King and Silver on the Tree) are both set in north Wales.

Susan Cooper is undoubtedly best known for the ‘Dark is Rising’ sequence of five children’s novels, but her first book was actually a science-fiction book called Mandrake, which was published in 1964.

She also wrote nonfiction in the form of the autobiographical Dawn of Fear (1970), which detailed her experiences in the Second World War.

When Susan Cooper married an American academic and moved there to raise his three teenage children she became a full-time writer. She also had two children of her own, so her hands were pretty full.

She still lives in America, following the death of her second husband, who was also American. Although far from the home she knew as a child, her books invoke a rich sense of the England and Wales she left behind when she moved across the Atlantic.

She wrote picture books for children, more fantasy novels for children, short fiction and a series featuring the Boggart, a mischievous spirit that haunts a Canadian family who inherit a Scottish castle.

Susan Cooper

I’ve reviewed all five books from the ‘Dark is Rising’ sequence for my blog. Here are the links:

Over Sea, Under Stone

The Dark is Rising


The Grey King

Silver on the Tree

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