Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman portrait image to appear alongside the Philip Pullman biography.

Philip Pullman was born on the 19th October, 1946 in Norwich, England. Pullman is best known for the series of books entitled His Dark Materials, the award winning children's literature consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

Philip Pullman was seven years old when Flight Lieutenant Alfred Pullman of the RAF died in his aircraft in Kenya, in February 1954. Soon afterwards, he was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Pullman spent his early years following his father to numerous postings around the world. It was on a boat to South Africa in 1951 that he was first taught to read, an event that opened up all the possibilities to come. His mother married again just a year after his father died. After a spell in Australia, which left an enduring mark on his accent, Pullman was educated in London and Harlech, Wales. He still sends copies of his books to his old English teacher Enid Jones. After taking a third-class degree at Oxford, he worked as a teacher and married Judith Speller in 1970. They have two sons, who are now grown up.

Philip Pullman's first published work was a book entitled The Haunted Storm, written in 1972. It was in 1993 when the began the writing of His Dark Materials, a fantasy trilogy for young adults that was completed with the publication of The Amber Spyglass in the year 2000.

Philip Pullman caused controversy amongst many religious groups with the content of His Dark Materials. Many saw the books as anti-religion and also claimed that they were written to be a slap in the face to C.S. Lewis and his Narnia Chronicles. This speculation has been further fueled by Pullman himself when, on occasions, he has been openly critical of C.S. Lewis' works, labeling it "religious propaganda". Recently, and surprisingly, Pullman's work has gained support from the Church itself with The Archbishop of Canterbury claiming that the books were an attack on dogmatism and suggesting they be used as part of religious education lessons in schools.

Although His Dark Materials is categorised within the fantasy genre Pullman also believes that they should be classed as stark realism.

Philip Pullman was awarded a CBE in the New Year's Honours list in 2004.

Philip Pullman awards

  • The Haunted Storm - winner of the New English Library's Young Writer's Award in 1972
  • Northern Lights - winner of the Carnegie Award in 1995
  • The Amber Spyglass - winner of the Whitbread Prize in 2002

Philip Pullman books reviewed


  • The Haunted Storm (1972)
  • Galatea (1976)
  • Count Karlstein (1982)
  • The Ruby in the Smoke - Sally Lockhart (1985)
  • The Shadow in the North - Sally Lockhart (1986)
  • How to be Cool (1987)
  • Spring-Heeled Jack (1989)
  • The Tiger in the Well - Sally Lockhart (1990)
  • The Broken Bridge (1990)
  • The White Mercedes (1992)
  • The Wonderful Story of Aladdin and the Enchanted Lamp (1993)
  • The Tin Princess - Sally Lockhart (1994)
  • Thunderbolt's Waxwork - The New-Cut Gang (1994)
  • The Gasfitter's Ball - The New-Cut Gang (1995)
  • Northern Lights - His Dark Materials (1995)
  • Clockwork (1995)
  • The Firework-Maker's Daughter (1995)
  • The Subtle Knife - His Dark Materials (1997)
  • Mossycoat (1998)
  • The Butterfly Tattoo (1998)
  • I was a Rat! (1999)
  • The Amber Spyglass - His Dark Materials (2000)
  • Puss in Boots: The Adventures of That Most Enterprising Feline (2000)
  • The Scarecrow and his Servant (2004)
  • Lyra's Oxford (2007)
  • Once Upon a Time in the North (2008)