Famed pony novelist Josephine Pullein-Thompson dies at 90

| 24 June 2014 9:28 am
Josephine Pullein-Thompson, at left, at the age of 18, with her sisters Christine and Diana.

Josephine Pullein-Thompson, at left, at the age of 18, with her sisters Christine and Diana.

ode-jptRenowned equestrian novelist Josephine Pullein-Thompson died on June 19 at the age of 90.

Josephine Mary Wedderburn Pullein-Thompson was born on April 3, 1924. The family was brought up at the Grove, a house in the Oxfordshire village of Peppard near Henley-on-Thames. Her sisters, twins Diana and Christine, were born 18 months later in 1925.

Their mother was the novelist Joanna Cannan, who wrote some 48 pony and detective novels, and their elder brother Denis was a playwright.

From their teenage years, the trio were prolific writers, with nearly 200 books between them. Josephine’s last was in 1994, A Job With Horses, and she also wrote several non-fiction books on riding. All were excellent riders.

The three sisters wrote their first book together in 1941, It Began With Picotee, which was published in 1946. Josephine’s first novel, Six Ponies, was also published that year.

She also wrote the adult mystery books Gin and Murder (1959), Murder Strikes Pink (1963) and They Died In The Spring (1960), and A Place With Two Faces (1972) under the pseudonym of Josephine Mann.

Josephine was involved the Pony Club, and in later years with the British branch of the writers’ organisation International PEN, which campaigns for writers’ freedoms in authoritarian or tyrannical regimes. She was awarded the MBE in 1984 for services to literature, and received English PEN’s Golden PEN Award in 2007 for lifetime achievement.

six-poniesShe was also a vice-president of the Woodland Hunt Branch of the Pony Club, in the Henley area. In later life, she lived in a terraced house in Fulham.

She is survived by her sister, Diana. Christine died in 2005, and Denis died in 2011 at the age of 92.


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  1. Lynette Cousins says:

    Condolences to her family – I grew up with these books.

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