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Rumer Godden

(Margaret Rumer Godden)
UK (1907 - 1998)

Margaret Rumer Godden, OBE, was an English author of over 60 books, under the name of Rumer Godden.
Born in Sussex, England, Godden grew up with her three sisters in Narayanganj, then part of colonial India. She returned to the United Kingdom with her sisters in her early 20s, training as a dance teacher. She went to Calcutta in 1930 to start a dance school for English and Indian children. Godden ran the school for 20 years with the help of her sister Nancy. During this time she published her first best-seller, Black Narcissus (1939).

Following an unhappy marriage of 8 years, she moved with her two daughters to Kashmir. Remarrying again in 1949, she returned to the United Kingdom to concentrate on writing.

Later on, Godden converted to Roman Catholicism and a number of her books began to deal with the subject of women in religious communities. In books such as Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy and In This House of Brede she acutely examined the balance between the mystical aspects of religion and the submission of the individual to the spiritual discipline. She retired to Moniaive in Dumfriesshire in her 70s. She was appointed OBE in 1993. Rumer Godden died at the age of 90 on November 8, 1998. Several of her works were co-written by her sister, Jon Godden, who wrote several novels on her own.

Godden evokes the atmosphere of India through all the senses: her writing is vivid with detail of smells, textures, light, flowers, noises and tactile experiences. Her books for children, especially her several doll stories, convincingly convey the secret thoughts and aspirations of childhood.
Black Narcissus (1939)
The River (1946)
A Candle for St. Jude (1948)
A Breath of Air (1950)
The Mousewife (1951)
Breakfast with the Nikoalides (1952)
Mouse House (1952)
Impunity Jane: The Story of a Pocket Doll (1954)
The Episode of Sparrows (1956)
The Fairy Doll (1956)
The Greengage Summer (1958)
The Story of Holly and Ivy (1958)
Kingfishers Catch Fire (1959)
Candy Floss (1960)
China Court: The Hours of a Country House (1961)
Saint Jerome and the Lion (1961)
Thus Far and No Further (1961)
Doll's House (1962)
The Battle of the Villa Fiorita (1963)
Little Plum (1963)
Home Is the Sailor (1964)
Gypsy, Gypsy (1965)
Two Under the Indian Sun (1966)
The Kitchen Madonna (1967)
Fugue in Time (1969)
In This House of Brede (1969)
Lady and the Unicorn (1969)
Operation Sippacik (1969)
Miss Happiness and Miss Flower (1971)
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Vinegar Bottle (1972)
The Diddakoi (1972)
Mr. McFadden's Halloween (1975)
The Peacock Spring (1975)
Butterfly Lions (1977)
The Rocking Horse Secret (1977)
A Kindle of Kittens (1978)
Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy (1979)
Take Three Tenses: A Fugue in Time (1980)
Gulbadan: Portrait of a Rose Princess At the Mughal Court (1980)
The Dark Horse (1981)
The Dragon of Og (1981)
The Valiant Chatti-Maker (1983)
Four Dolls (1983)
Tottie: The Story of a Dolls' House (1983)
Thursday's Children (1984)
The Tale of the Tales: Beatrix Potter Ballet (1985)
Fu-Dog (1989)
Coromandel Sea Change (1991)
Great Grandfather's House (1992)
Listen to the Nightingale (1992)
Pippa Passes (1994)
The Little Chair (1996)
Premlata and the Festival of Lights (1996)
Cockcrow to Starlight: A Day Full of Poetry (1996)
Cromartie V. the God Shiva: Acting Through the Government of India (1997)
Gypsy Girl (2002)



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