(1881 - 1944)
“Once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand.”

Born in London, Margery Winifred Williams moved to Pennsylvania after the death of her father, and then, after her marriage to Italian Francesco Bianco, onto Turin around 1910. She remained in Italy during WWI whilst her husband fought with the Italian army,  but returned with her family to the US in 1921.   Her experience of death and loss permeate her children’s books, which some critics found difficult, but she always maintained that “hearts acquire greater humanity through pain and adversity”

While staying home with her children, she found inspiration from watching them playing with toys and animals, which resulted in her most popular book The Velveteen Rabbit or How Toys Become Real, published by Heinemann in 1922.  The book’s concept of wonder and miracles as seen from a child’s point of view, is clearly influenced by her love of the work of Walter de la Mare, whom she greatly admired.  The accompanying illustrations by William Nicholson perfectly match the story as they are full of charm and plainly inspired by his natural sympathy with children.

Williams went on to write a number of children’s books, including Poor Cecco (named after her son) in 1925, which was beautifully illustrated by Arthur Rackham, but it is for the story of a toy rabbit brought to life by love and nursery magic that she is best remembered.

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The Velveteen Rabbit