James Matthew Barrie, the creator of Peter Pan, was born on May 9, 1860, in Kirriemuir, Angus, Scotland. His idyllic boyhood was shattered by his brother's death when Barrie was six. His own grief and that of his mother influenced the rest of his life. Through his work, he sought to recapture the carefree joy of his first six years. Barrie came to London as a freelance writer in 1885. His early fiction, Auld Licht Idylls (1888) and A Window in Thrums (1889), were inspired by his youth in Kirriemuir. After publishing a biography of his mother Margaret Ogilvy and the autobiographical novel Sentimental Tommy, about a boy living in a dream world (1896), he concentrated on writing plays. The Admirable Crichton (1902), the story of a butler who becomes king of a desert island, helped to establish Barrie's reputation as a playwright. Meanwhile, he began to relive his childhood by telling the first Peter Pan stories to the sons of his friend, Sylvia Llewellyn Davies. The play Peter Pan was first performed in 1904 and published as a novel seven years later. Its imaginative drama, featuring the eternal boy's triumph over the grownup Captain Hook, idealizes childhood and underscores adults' inability to regain it. These resonant themes made it a classic of world literature. Barrie's later work shows his increasingly cynical view of adulthood, particularly in Dear Brutus (1917). Often considered his finest play, it concerns nine men and women whose caprices destroy a miraculous opportunity to relive their lives. Barrie married the former Mary Ansell in 1894. They divorced in 1909, never having any children. Barrie died in London on June 19, 1937.
Susan Cooper was born in Buckinghamshire, England in May of 1935. She attended Slough Grammar School, and then went on to Somerville College and Oxford. She was the first woman to ever edit the University Magazine, the Cherwell. She graduated from Oxford with an MA in English and went to work for London's The Sunday Times as a reporter on the Atticus Column for Ian Flemming. She evenutally made it to features writer, during which time she wrote her first book, "Mandrake," a science fiction story for adults. Soon after the publication of "Mandrake," Cooper wrote the children's story "Over Sea, Under Stone" for a publishing house competition. It would later become the first of a five book series she would become famous for. She left England in 1963 to marry an American professor. Once there, she wrote two more books for adults, "Behind the Golden Gate" a study of America, and "Portrait of an Author" the biography of J. B. Priestley. In 1970, Cooper published "Dawn of Fear" an almost entirely autobiographical book about growing up as a child during the war. Even though Cooper wrote "Over Sea, Under Stone" as a entry for a publishing house competittion, she did not know at the time that it would be the first of her most famous copilation, "The Dark is Rising Series." In 1973 she wrote the second in the five book series, entitled "The Dark is Rising," published more than ten years after the first. In1974, Cooper published Greenwitch, book three, and book four, "The Grey King" a year later. "The Grey King" won the Newberry Medal in 1976. "Silver on the Tree" was the fifth and last book published, completing the series in 1977. After completing the "Dark is Rising" series, Cooper turned to writing for the theater, learning the style from Urjo Kareda at Tarragon Theatres in Toronto. She wrote for Jack Langstaff's "Revels." Her first major play was called "Foxfire," which was written in coolaboration with Hume Cronyn. The play eventually went to Broadway in 1983 and starred Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, who won a Tony for her performance. Cooper then began working on "Seaward," but was interrupted by Jane Fonda, who wanted her to write the screenplay for Harriet Arnow's "The Dollmaker." She wrote the adaptation with Cronyn and won a Humanitas Award for it, while Jane Fonda won the Best Actress Emmy for her role. Cooper also got an Emmy nomination for her adaptation of "Foxfire" for television. "To Dance with the White Dog," a made for tv movie, was the last collaboration of Cooper, Cronyn and Tandy, Tandy having died in '94. IN the '80's and '90's, Cooper wrote the text for many children's picture books such as, "Jethro and the Jumbie" and "Danny and the Kings." 1993 marked her return to the Children's Book List with "The Boggart" and int's follow up "The Boggart and the Monster" in 1997. In 1996, Cooper published a collection of essays on children's literature entitled, "Dreams and Wishes." Over the course of her career, Cooper has written for newspapers, books for children and adults, screen[plays for television and cinema, and a Broadwat play. Today, she lectures on children's literture and continues to write.