Alison Croggon

Alison Croggon portrait image to appear alongside the Alison Croggon biography.

When I was ten years old, my big ambition was to write a fantasy novel. It was all my parents' fault. One night I couldn't sleep because they were fighting, and after they finally went to bed I crept into the empty kitchen. On the table was a single volume paperback edition of The Lord of the Rings which my father had left there, and I started reading it out of idle curiosity. I sat up all that night reading and read it all the next day, until I had finished it. Then I started reading it again.

I loved that book. I remember when my paperback wore out I ceremonially buried it, though I think I dug it up again. But then I grew up and put away childish things. I became a journalist, and worked for now defunct Melbourne Herald until I was 25. And I was utterly miserable. What I really wanted to do was to write poetry.  I resigned in 1985 to do precisely that, and promptly became pregnant with my oldest boy, Josh.  His birth coincided with my first really serious writing: it was as if I had to make things almost impossible for myself in order to do it at all.  My first book of poems was published by Penguin Books in 1991 and won a couple of prizes.  I now write plays, operas, poems and criticism as well. My "official" biography is here. 

It wasn't until Josh was old enough to read The Lord of the Rings himself that I remembered fantasy, and my old ambition, which I had long cast aside.  I read the LOTR again, and remembered what pleasure it had given me, and something started stirring in a forgotten part of me. I started writing The Gift without any clear idea of what it was in late 1999.  Maerad just appeared, and then Cadvan, and then they were off somewhere... (in the end, I really finished the book to find out what happened).  I have been constantly amazed that this world almost seemed to be already there, just waiting to be written down.   It could be that this book has been waiting to be written for thirty years.

When I'd written about 80 pages I sent it to Penguin Books for some advice on what to do with it:  I didn't know if people read fantasy any more.  To my amazement they contracted me, and so I finished the first draft in a three month burst when I returned from Cambridge in 2000.  By then, of course, I had worked out that people still did read fantasy.  Five drafts later and it was finally there.  I wrote The Riddle, Part 2, in 2003, and The Crow in 2005. Those were different but equally rewarding experiences.  And now, at the end of 2007, I have just finished The Singing. So it really is a quartet now!

This biography comes from the official Alison Croggon website -

Alison Croggon books reviewed


The Books of Pellinor

  • The Gift. Penguin. 2003. ISBN 0140293434
  • The Riddle. Penguin. 2004. ISBN 1844289524
  • The Crow. Penguin. 2006. ISBN 140630137X
  • The Singing. Penguin. 2008. ISBN 9780670072385


Critical acclaim