BUCKERIDGE, Anthony

(1912 - 2004)
 "The trouble with Jennings was the fantastic way in which his mind appeared to work"

Anthony Malcolm Buckeridge was the creator of one of the most engaging characters in the genre of the school story – J.C.T. Jennings.  Buckeridge started his professional life as a teacher, and after a stint in the National Fire Service during WWII, he joined the staff at St Lawrence College, Ramsgate.  Here he rewarded his pupils with stories about boyish prep-school pranks, which led to him submitting, in 1948, a radio play about Jennings and his chum Darbishire to the BBC Children’s Hour, who promptly commissioned a further five plays.  The success of the plays encouraged Buckeridge to write a novel about Jennings’s arrival at Linbury Court Preparatory School, which he offered to Collins.  Published in 1950 the book was an immediate success, which enabled Buckeridge to give up teaching and turn to writing as a full-time career.  Over the next 27 years a new title was added almost annually, until 1977 when Collins decided that prep school stories were no longer fashionable.   Macmillans disagreed and a further two titles were added in 1991 and 1994.   The longevity of the series can be attributed to Buckeridge’s style, which combines humour with a carefully crafted story line and a thorough understanding of a child’s capacity for literal-mindedness and impetuosity.  There were 25 titles in the series written over 44 years, but, like Peter Pan, Jennings never got any older.  Buckeridge wrote other plays and other novels, but he is best remembered for the well-meaning school boy with a knack for getting into trouble and the use of post-war slang.  In 1955 The Time Literary Supplement wrote "In the field of school stories there is at present no rival to Anthony Buckeridge, who shows that school today has its own glamour, and that close observation, a sound technique and an infallible ear for dialogue can make for success in a difficult field."

Buckeridge was awarded an OBE in 2003.

Please scroll down to see our collection of Buckeridge first editions.

 


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