Martin Waddell

LifeWorksCriticismCommentaryQuotationsReferencesNotes

Life
1941- ; b. [?]Belfast, Co. Down, on the night of the Blitz; raised in Newcastle, where he lives; son of linen merchant; family, under threat of marital separation, moved to London in 1952; returned to Newcastle with his mother; joined local newspaper at 15; trialed as goal-keeper and then signed by Fulham, 1958, but did not like the profession; started to write; wrote The Lonely Children, but found no publisher; taken on to work by Hutchinson; found lit. agent in Jonathan Clowes; impressed by Len Deighton’s Ipcress File, and wrote Otley (1966), a comic thriller centred on dubious antique dealer among spies; its success followed by film version; returned to Newcastle; m. Rosaleen, 1969; wrote first children’s book, In a Blue Velvet Dress, and embraced the genre, publishing as Catherine Sefton - taking his grandmother’s family name; blown up by bomb placed in Donaghadee Catholic church which he attended; made a slow psychological recuperation; met Sebastian Walker of Walker Books, 1985, and received contract for 10,000, becoming an ‘overnight success’; went on to publish prolific children’s fiction under his own name; especially renowned for “Napper” and “Little Bear” series, the latter ill. by Barbara Firth.

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Works
Fiction, Otley (London: Pan 1968), 166pp. [0 330 0303 3 6], rep. [Black Dagger Crime Series] (London: Chivers Press 1989) [0 86220 748 7]; Otley Forever (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1968), 192pp. [0 34002 997 8]; Otley Pursued (London: Hodder Pbs. 1969), 191pp. [0 340 10874 6]; Otley Victorious (Hodder and Stoughton 1969), 184pp. [0 340 10742 1]; Come Back When I’m Sober (London: Hodder & Stoughton 1969), 191pp. [0 340 10983 1]; A Little Bit British, Diary of an Ulsterman, Aug. 1969 (London: Stacey 1970), 159pp. [0 8568 016 0]; also ed., A Tale to Tell, Stories by Young People from Northern Ireland (NI Arts Council 1982), 72pp.

For children [as Martin Waddell], Ernie’s Flying Trousers (Belfast: Blackstaff 1978), ill. Ronnie Baird [0 85640 122 Ernie’s Chemistry Set (Belfast: Blackstaff 1978), ill. Ronnie Baird, 32pp. [0 85640 130 6]; Great Green House Disaster (1981); Napper Goes for Goal (Puffin 1981), ill. Bernie Mitchell; Harriet and the Crocodiles (London: Abelard 1982), ill. Mark Burgess; Going West (London: Anderson Press 1983), ill. Phillippe Dupasquier; other eds. (London: Puffin 1985, 1993) [0 14050 473 7]; The Mystery Squad and the Artful Dodger (London: Blackie 1984), ill. Terry McKenna; What’s This all About? (London: Puffin 1985); Our Wild Weekend (London: Mammoth 1986), 96pp.; Tall Stories of Wilbur Small (London: Blackie/Penguin 1987); Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? (London: Walker 1988), ill. Barbara Firth; Our Sleepysaurus (London: Walker 1989); Our Wild Weekend (London: Mammoth 1990), 96pp.; Grandma’s Bill [Young Books] (London: Simon & Schuster 1990), ill. Jane Johnson; Rosie’s Babies (London: Walker Books 1990), ill. Penny Dale; Do. (Netherlands: Clavis, Hasselt 1990), 16pp.; The Hidden House (London: Walker Books 1990), ill. Angela Barrett; Amy Said (Walker Books 1990), 28pp.; Judy the Bad Fairy (London: Walker Books 1990), 30pp.; Hidden House (London: Walker Books 1990), 26pp.; My Great Grandpa (London: Walker Books 1990), 24pp.; Once There Were Giants (London: Walker Books 1990), 26pp.; Park in the Dark (London: Walker Books 1990), 30pp.; We Love Them (London: Walker Books 1990; 1991), 28pp., ill. Barbara Firth; The Toy Maker, ill. T Milne (London: Walker 1991); Farmer Duck (London: Walker 1991), ill. Helen Oxbury; Squeak-a-Lot (London: Walker 1991), with Virginia Miller; Once there were Giants, trans from English by A. Uí Chearbhaill (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1992; 1994); Owl Babies (London: Walker 1992); The Pig in the Pond (London: Walker 1992); Sailor Bear (London: Walker 1992); Sam Vole and His Brothers (London: Walker 1992); Bhí Fathaigh Ann Uair [trans.] (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan 1992), 31pp.; Fishface Feud [and] Rubberneck’s Revenge (O’Brien Press; London: Walker 1993), 60 & 76pp ; School That Went to Sea (Dublin: O’Brien Press; UK: Walker Books 1993), 32pp.; Stories from the Bible (F. Lincoln 1993), ill. G. Patterson, 72pp.; Tough Princess (London: Walker 1993); Little Dracula’s Fangtastic Book (London: Walker 1992); Owl and Billy Stories, ill. C Dinan (London: Mammoth 1994); Tango’s Baby (London: Walker Books 1995; Walker/Poolbeg [pbk.] 1996), 189pp. [first teenage book under his own name]; Mimi and the Dream House (Dublin: O’Brien Press; London: Walker Books 1995), 32pp., ill. Leo Hartas; Shop that Never Shuts (Dublin: Wolfhound 1995), 92pp.; Mimi and the Picnic (Dublin: O’Brien Press 1995), 32pp., ill. Leo Hartas; Mise agus Tusa, a Bhéirín (BAC: An Gúm 1996), 32pp.

For children [as Catherine Sefton], The Ghost and Bertie Boggin (Puffin 1983); In a Blue Velvet Dress (London: Hamish Hamilton 1985); Ghost Ship (London: Hamish Hamilton 1985), ill. M. Ursell; Flying [?]Sam [Cartwheel Series] (London: Hamish Hamilton 1986); My Gang (Corgi (1987, 1993); Puff of Smoke (Corgi 1988, 1993); The Day the Smells Went Wrong (London: Hamish Hamilton 1988); Story Night (London: Mammoth 1990; 1994); Ghosts (London: Walker 1991); The Beat of the Drum (London: Mammoth 1990); Emer’s Ghost (London: Mammoth 1990); Frankie’s Story (London: Mammoth 1990); Island of the Strangers ([?Mammoth]1990); Boggart in the Barrel (Hamish Hamilton 1991), 32pp.; Ghost Girl (London: Mammoth 1991); Ghosts of Cobweb (London: Hamish Hamilton 1992); Ghosts of Cobweb and [?]Sirens Star ((London: Hamish Hamilton 1993), ill. J. Baylis; Ghosts of Cobweb and the Skully Bones Mystery (London: Hamish Hamilton 1993), ill. Baylis; Haunted Schoolbag (London: Hamish Hamilton 1989); Horace the Ghost (London: Hamish Hamilton 1991); Back House Ghosts (London: Walker 1991); Shadow on the Lake (Nelson 1993; Cadenza 1994), 112pp. [0 17 432 306 9]; and eds.; Kidnapping of Suzie Q. (London: Hamish Hamilton 1994), 160pp. [0 24100 188 9]; Marie’s Story (Puffin 1994). [UUC LIB, WHITAKER, AND BNB from 1984]. ALSO, Martin Waddell/Catherine Sefton [with] Anne Taylor, Children’s Authors [School Library Assoc.] [0 900 641 681]; Mimi and the Dream House (O’Brien Press; Walker Books ?1994); Well Done, Bear (Walker 1999). Also, ed., Opening Doors: Writings by Children of Ireland and Russia for the Pushkin Prizes 1991-1996 (Omagh: Pushkin Prizes Trust 1997), 111pp.

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Criticism
See Interview, in Books Ireland (April 1999), pp.87-89.

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References
Belfast Central Public Library holds Come Back When I’m Sober (1969); Otley; Otley Forever; Otley Victorious (1968); Great Green House Disaster (1981); Our Wild Weekend (1986).

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Notes
A Little Bit British, Being Diary of an Ulsterman, Aug. 1969 (London: Stacey 1970), 159pp., title facing describes him as a little bit British and a little bit Irish as well; marriage to Roman Catholic confuses Ulster Presbyterian in his bones and, perhaps, foreshadows solution to Ulster problem; ed. mainly in England; used knowledge of London street markets for Otley novels, one of which was filmed; Come Back When I’m Sober, novel about drunken Belfast [‘blessed irreverence’, Irish Times]; stories, pieces for radio and television; no children’s books cite here; ‘neither of his countries understands him’; introductory material describes ‘Mr Harland ... whose diary this is’ as ‘one of those thinly disguised extremists who turn up in every trouble spot, pronouncing themsleves to be moderate men of good sense’, and professes indebtedness to Belfast Telegraph and Newsletter for matter used in the book; Introduction signed Donaghadee, Co. Down. An appendix includes short ‘explanatory notes’ on Chichester-Clark, Ivan Cooper, William Craig, Bernadette Devlin, Paddy Devlin, Michael Farrell, Gerard Fitt, John Hume [disliked by the militants on his own side and hated by the Unionists], Jack Lynch, Terence O’Neill, Ian Paisley, Robert Porter, and Harold Wilson.

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