British author Rosemary Sutcliff was born in Surrey, England, in 1920. At a very young age she contracted a condition known as Stills disease, which left her severely disabled. Unable to attend school, she was educated at home by her mother who introduced her to Celtic and Saxon legends, as well as Icelandic sagas, fairy-tales and the work of Rudyard Kipling, but she did not learn to read by herself until the age of nine. In her adolescence, she enrolled in art college as a painter, but soon enough she began to write, retelling the legends that her mother had told her as a young child. Her first novel, The Queen Elizabeth Story, was published in 1950 and since then she has published more than 50 more. Rosemary Sutcliff is universally considered one of the finest writers of historical novels for children, young adults and as she put it, all children aged 8 to 88.
Author's Comment: I think that I am happiest of all in Roman Britain. I feel very much at home there. The Middle Ages I am not at home in. I am interested in them and love to read about them, but I can't write about them, or practically not at all. I think it is because I can't take the all-pervasiveness of religion which has a stranglehold on life. The more level-headed viewpoint of the Romans is nearer to our own way of looking at things. If I could do a time flip and landed back in Roman Britain, I would take a deep breath, take perhaps a fortnight to get used to things, then be all right, for I would know what was making the people around me tick. But if I landed in thirteenth or fourteenth-century England, I'd be lost. I have a special "Ah, here I am again! I know exactly what they are going to have for breakfast" feeling when I get back into Roman Britain, which is very nice.