The stories of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends have delighted generations of children and adults, but what do we know of the man who created them? A devoted pastor and family man, the Reverend W Awdry first started telling the stories in order to amuse his own children, with no idea that the characters would lead to a global phenomenon that now, seventy years after their first appearance, shows no signs of waning. In this fascinating and warm biography, prolific author Brian Sibley brings to life one of the most eminent children’s writers of the twentieth century, tracing his story from his Edwardian childhood through his time at University and into World War 2. A convinced pacifist, Awdry was thrown out of one curacy and denied another, because of his beliefs. Never afraid to fight for what he thought was right, he argued with his publishers and his illustrators, demanding the best for his favourite creations – the trains and their friends.
Brian Sibley is a writer and a broadcaster, with a string of awards for his scripts and programmes. He has had an eclectic career, but an interest in books written for children, and their authors, recur again and again. As well as his life of Reverend Awdry, Brian Sibley has written extensively on C S Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia; J R R Tolkien and his books on Middle Earth, and also penned the official biography of Peter Jackson, the director of the Lord of the Rings films. He has also adapted many books for serial dramas on Radio 4, including the Mervyn Peake novels, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Pilgrim’s Progress and T H White’s The Once and Future King.