Kenneth Grahame

Alison Prince
Date Published
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The Wind in the Willows needs no introduction – children have enjoyed the exploits of its characters for generations. Few would guess that its author, Kenneth Grahame, was a tortured soul. Marriage to the predatory Elspeth Thomson, when both seemed destined for the single life, was a shared fantasy of invented truth. Out of that union came a catastrophically spoiled son, ‘mouse’, for whom that greatest of children’s stories was written. It was the child’s tragedy that he was sucked into the unreality of his parents’ lives and did not survive it, ending his life in suicide.

Alison Prince brings her own highly acclaimed expertise as a children’s writer to this remarkably perceptive biography of Kenneth Grahame. Drawing on hitherto unpublished material she uncovers layer upon layer of Grahame’s personality to reveal the truth behind the myth of this intriguing man, ‘the tortured soul of Mr Toad’.

‘Alison Prince describes the grim story of Grahame’s marriage and fatherhood squarely and sensitively.’ Independent

‘A meaty, well-constructed biography.’ Allan Massie Daily Telegraph


Author of highly acclaimed biographies of Kenneth Grahame and Hans Christian Anderson, Alison Prince has also written many children’s books, as well as being an accomplished artist and poet. In addition she is celebrated for her children’s television programmes, particularly Trumpton with its popular catch-phrase ‘Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew …’ She lives in Scotland on the Isle of Arran.

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