Peter Malcolm de Brissac Dickinson OBE (born 16 December 1927) is an English author and poet who has written a wide variety of books, notably children's books and detective stories, over a long and distinguished career.
Dickinson was born in Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia), but his parents moved back to England so that he and his brothers could attend English schools: Dickinson was at Eton College from 1941 to 1946. After completing his National Service (1946—48), he studied at King's College, Cambridge, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1951. For seventeen years, from 1952—1969, he worked as assistant editor, resident poet and reviewer for Punch magazine.
Dickinson has written almost fifty books, which fall into three general categories: mysteries for adults (including the James Pibble series), novels for younger readers (many of which have a fantastic or supernatural element), and a few simpler children's books.
Both of Dickinson's first crime novels won the Crime Writers' Association's Gold Dagger, Skin Deep in 1968 and A Pride of Heroes in 1969. He has been similarly successful with his children's books. He won the Guardian Award in 1977 for The Blue Hawk and the Whitbread prize for best children's book in 1979 for Tulku. In 1982 he was placed on the International Board of Books for Young People Honor List for Tulku,and The Iron Lion was selected one of New York Times Notable Books. In 1989 he won the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Eva. He was also shortlisted for the Whitbread award for his book The Kin.
Dickinson's three early books, The Weathermonger, Heartsease and The Devil's Children, make up the Changes Trilogy, which was adapted (with many alterations) into the BBC TV series The Changes in 1975. The trilogy was written in reverse order: The Devil's Children is actually the first book in terms of the trilogy's chronology, Heartsease the second, and The Weathermonger the third.
A pair of alternative history novels, King and Joker (1976) and Skeleton-in-Waiting (1989), are based on the premise that Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence survives and ultimately reigns as Victor I of England.
A collection of his own previously published and new poetry, Poems by Peter Dickinson, was published on the occasion of his 80th birthday in 2007, as a gift from his four children.
His latest work is Fire (2009), published by Putnam Books, USA, which he co-wrote with Robin McKinley.
Dickinson married Mary Rose Barnard in 1953; the couple had two sons (one the author, John Dickinson) and two daughters. He is now married to the novelist Robin McKinley.
Dickinson was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.
Townsend, John Rowe, "Dickinson, Peter", in Twentieth-Century Children's Writers ed. D. L. Kirkpatrick (London: Macmillan, 1978), 371—4.Alderson, Brian, "Peter Dickinson and the Hazards of Storytelling" in Books For Keeps issue no.172, September 2008