close friend of the young Simon Puttock

 

Chapter One - In Which I am Born

And Embark Upon My Very Own And

Brand New Life, and Remember Not A

Bit Of It.

Eyewitness accounts of the time all agree that Simon Puttock was born in Wellington, New Zealand, in the Spring of 1964*. (Antipodean Spring that is.) He went on to spend most of his childhood wondering why anywhere would share its name with a rubber boot.

 

the artist as a very, very young man

 

Chapter Two - Islands Quite Small;

And Enormous.

At a very tender age indeed, Simon was moved lock, stock and unsuitable sunglasses to Trinidad, where over the course of some three and a half years he fell into a mangrove swamp, learned how to cajole sweeties out of the old folks on the other side of the wasteland, was taken to Australia to be shown off to his grandparents, and furthermore but not subsequently, learned how to swim.

 

England in the 'olden days'


Chapter Three - Blighty; Part One.

 

From Trinidad, Simon sailed to England at the ripe old age of three and quite a lot. Here he lived in a haunted house in Kent and saw his first UHO (Unidentified Hovering Object), learned - under severe parental pressure - how to read, and forgot how to swim. His career as a very poor photographer began and continues occasionally to this day.


speed was not his thing

Chapter Four - Warmth and Sunlight!

obviously not in Britain anymore


Two brief years and perhaps another half one saw Simon setting sail once again, this time for Barbados. This period of Simon's life is memorable for so very many things, they are just too many to mention. Let us merely say that it was during this time that Simon re-learned how to swim and then learned to sail, developed a passion for books (Arthur Ransome, Richmal Crompton, Rosemary Sutcliff and Eleanor Farjeon figuring prominently), fell down quite a bit of a cliff, and became mildly convinced he was being followed round the world by a satanic salad fork which was possessed not only of the ability to move mysteriously from country to country, but also of some nebulous and menacing intent.

    

little is known about this time...

 

Chapter Five - Blighty again;

or Part Two thereof

Five more years passed, and our young hero, now aged very nearly thirteen, returned to the land of cold and damp and those things called proper seasons: England again. He was not best pleased, and would prefer to gloss over most of the ensuing years, pausing only to mention that he did his time at school and then signed up for another stretch at university in Newcastle Upon Tyne where he discovered what it was like to be properly cold.

 

short book case, not tall author
photo © Andrew Day

 

Chapter Six - The Unpromising Twenties.

After gaining an ignominious degree in English Literature, Simon went on to do such unmemorable things that they cannot be dredged from his mind to be recorded here. However, he does remember having the first of two serious and very nasty writing accidents, which is probably the reason for his blotting out of so much else. It may also be notable that sometime in the latter half of that decade, Simon managed to forget, for an entire year, his true and actual age. It came as some surprise to him when, on attaining another birthday, he realised that he would have to go back repeat a year. It was also during this period that he became, quite unintentionally, a DJ; or more accurately, anti-DJ. This was also the decade in which he began to be a children's bookseller for twelve years. (Officially that last sentence does make sense...)

 

caution - dapper fellow crossing!

Chapter Seven - The Slightly Less

Unpromising Thirties.

 

At last! Simon began to write quite well (but not before he had had to suffer his second nasty writing accident), and think seriously about being published.  This eventually happened, but not before he'd tried such diversionary tactics as learing how to throw small pots and taking a short course in etching.  He also dipped his toe into the publishing pond by being the commissioning editor of an anthology of teenage stories which included contributions from , among others, Anne Fine, Vivian French, Margaret Mahy and Jan Mark. Meanwhile, he began spending time in Scotland, and realised that by some quirk of microclimate, most of it is not as cold as Newcastle. Whilst hardly tropical, this could only be A Good Thing. In 1997 he developed a brief fascination for Eastern European road crossing signs.This was also the decade in which he accidentally purchased a painting by Vanessa Bell.

 

recent portrait by Kevin Littlejohn

Chapter Eight - The Forties So Far;

Onward and Upward. (If North Counts As

Being At The Top.)

Simon chose the beginning of this auspicious decade to Do The Right Thing and finally move to Scotland. More specifically Edinburgh. Here, and much to his surprise, he has won a couple of awards** and so far only lived in three different flats - positively stationary by his standards. He is currently writing this potted autobiography. Except that by the time you read this, he won't be.

* despite any impression that might have been gained to the contrary, Simon Puttock is not an only child; he is the youngest of three, having a sister and a brother. They probably don't mind not being mentioned until now, but it was Simon's brother who, after over three decades, confessed to being responsible for the long, drawn out affair of the salad fork...

** Awards...

Little Lost Cowboy
won the 2006 Highland Book Award (Picture Book category).

Little Lost Cowboy
also won the 2006 Royal Mail Scottish Children's Book Awards (0-7 category). They gave him a very large, very nice plate.

Goat and Donkey in Strawberry Sunglasses
was a runner up in the 2008 Royal Mail Scottish Children's Book Awards (0-7 category)

Horsey won a Practical Pre-School Merit Award -  in 2005, which Simon accidentally found out about five years later. In the light of this Simon wonders if any of his books ever won anything else...

Love From Louisa was a runner up in the 2010 Royal Mail Scottish Children's Book Awards (0-7 category).

The Love Bugs won the Coventry Inspiration 4-7 'What's The Story?' award against, Simon is proud to say, some pretty stiff competition!


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