Born: Established: 24 Sep 1929 Sunderland ;
Stephany's preferred BAL author. kk 5/8 Status report requested.
As a child, Barbara Ker Wilson used to accompany her father to a large publishing office in London, to deliver the corrected proofs of his latest engineering textbook, and she knew then that she wanted to work in the world of writing and publishing. Her first 'successful' work, written when she was eight, was a play based on the coronation of King George VI, performed at her primary school in England. Throughout her childhood she wrote poetry, short stories and unfinished 'novels'.She was later educated at North London Collegiate School, England. The Second World War influenced Ker Wilson greatly, particularly the experience of living through air raids in London. With the end of the war she had her first experience of travelling abroad; ever since, she has travelled extensively in Europe and Asia.
As a writer, her primary interest has been to tell a story, and she has returned repeatedly to the refreshing vigour of the world's original stories - folktales - that she has regarded as the springboard for all fiction. As an editor,she has worked mainly with books for young readers. She worked as an editor for a number of publishing companies in England, including Bodley Head, for whom she edited C S Lewis's The Last Battle (1956). She wrote several books for children before moving to Australia. She has continued her publishing career with Angus & Robertson, Hodder & Stoughton, Readers Digest and University of Queensland Press. While she was with Angus & Robertson, she instigated the Australian exhibitions at the Bologna Book Fair. She has lectured on writing for children at schools and libraries throughout Australia. Ker Wilson was married to Peter Tahourdin, a composer, and they have two daughters. Ker Wilson now lives near Brisbane, in a home overlooking Moreton Bay.
In this retelling of the Alice in Wonderland story set in Aboriginal Australia, the White Rabbit becomes the Kangaroo 'not, it should be emphasized, because there is no Pitjantjatjara word for 'rabbit', but simply because an Aboriginal Alice would naturally have seen a kangaroo in her dream.' (viii). Similarly the Red Queen is the Witch Spirit and the Caterpillar becomes a Witchety Grub while the Queen's Croquet Party becomes the Corroboree of the Witch Spirit. ('Introduction to Alitji' in Nancy Sheppard Alitjinya Ngura Tjukurtjarangka=Alitji in the Dreamtime (1975): viii).