2011: Philip Pullman

THE 2011 LECTURE, entitled Both Perhaps Present, was given by Philip Pullman.

Download a transcript of Philip Pullman’s 2011 lecture (pdf, 592k)

Philip Pullman is a distinguished writer who shot to fame in 1995 with with Northern Lights, the first novel in his acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy. In fact, Philip had already been making a name for himself for many years, writing excellent fiction including the Sally Lockhart quartet – a detective series for young adults set in the Victorian period with a feisty female protagonist. Although writing is his main occupation, Philip also takes a keen interest in illustration and the comic book/ graphic novel genre. Philip has garnered many prizes, including the Carnegie Medal (1996), the Whitbread/ Costa Award (2001), the Eleanor Farjeon Award (2002) and the Astrid Lindgren Award (2005). Not afraid of controversy, Philip has spoken out passionately in defence of libraries and against the iniquities of a curriculum that privileges the likes of phonics and grammar in an education culture full of tests and league tables rather than the ‘true, imaginative and humane engagement with literature’. These views were shared by Philippa Pearce. It is fitting that our speaker for 2011 is not only an outstanding writer for the young but one who, when awarded the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006, modestly declared that the title should have gone to Tom’s Midnight Garden.