Philip Ardagh (born 11 September 1961, London) is an English children's author, primarily known for the Eddie Dickens series of books. He has written more than 70 books including adult fiction and children's non-fiction.
In 2004 to 2005, he collaborated with rock legend Sir Paul McCartney and illustrator-animator Geoff Dunbar to create Sir Paul's first children's book 'High In the Clouds'. Published simultaneously in the UK and US and other countries around the world in October 2005, there was an initial print run of half-a-million copies in the United States.
Philip Ardagh was born in 1961, in Kent, England, where he grew up with one brother. Ardagh was educated privately at five different schools including The King's School. He did not apply to go to university but got a place on what was then Britain's only advertising copywriting course at Watford College of Art.
He was christened at St Paul's Cathedral in London by the Canon Residentiary, Chancellor and Chapter Treasurer, Frederick Hood, who co-wrote, with poet laureate John Betjeman, the introduction to the book Folly Farm by philosopher Cyril Joad.
After a placement at the London advertising agency, Darcy McManus & Masius, he found full-time employment at the McCann-Erickson advertising agency, located beneath what is now known as BT Tower. There he first met children's author Anthony Horowitz, who joined the agency just as he was leaving. He later became a library assistant for the London Borough of Lewisham Leisure Services (Downham Library).
===Eddie Dickeoriginally written as letters sent to his nephew Ben.
Ardagh has achieved both critical and popular acclaim for his work. Set in Victorian England, his Eddie Dickens books have been described as "A cross between Dickens and Monty Python" (The Guardian) and he himself as "a national treasure" (The Independent).
Popular in Germany, he has won both the Luchs (Lynx) Prize and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis. Although some American critics accused Ardagh of ‘jumping on the Lemony Snicket bandwagon’, Ardagh wrote the book as letters to his nephew Ben long before the first Snicket book was published. Ardagh once described the Snicket books as being more an homage to Edgar Allan Poe, while his own Eddie Dickens books were an homage to Charles Dickens. Although his book's title The Rise of the House of McNally is derived from Poe's The Fall of the House of Usher.
The movie rights to the Eddie Dickens books were optioned by Circle of Confusion's Jason Lust for Warner Bros, with director [[.
Ardagh embarked on Unlikely Exploits, a three-book series about the fall and rise of the downtrodden McNally family. In the first paragraph of the first chapter of the first book, The Fall of Fergal, young Fergal McNally falls to his death from a hotel window. It was serialized BBC Radio 4.
The second book, Heir of Mystery, saw the introduction of Mr Maggs, a man with a head the shape of a pumpkin and with a shark's-tooth smile. Mr Maggs's Manifesto of Change is an example of Ardagh’s quirky trademark style, with such suggested changes as moving the letter Q further down the alphabet, nearer to X, Y and Z, “where it rightfully belongs” and banning the word "cruet" as the collective term for salt and pepper.
The third and final Unlikely Exploit is The Rise of the House of McNally. The McNallys’ powers are finally revealed and the three books are tied together.
Unlikely Exploits was illustrated by David Roberts, who also illustrated the Eddie Dickens series.
Just before the Bologna Children's Book Fair 2008, it was announced that Ardagh had signed a deal with his publisher Faber & Faber to write three Grubtown Tales: books for young children set in the fictitious (and rather grubby) town of Grubtown. All three were set to be published in 2009.
Ardagh has written two humorous books for adults: The Not-So-Very-Nice Goings-On At Victoria Lodge: Without Illustrations By The Author and The Silly Side of Sherlock Holmes: A Brand New Adventure Using A Bunch of Old Pictures.
The first uses pictures taken from the 19th-century Girls' Own Paper and the second uses illustrations of the original Sherlock Holmes stories taken from The Strand Magazine. A third, The Scandalous Life of the Lawless Sisters: Criminally Illustrated With What Was To Hand uses pictures from Punch from the year 1880 and is due for publication in late 2008. He is also a regular reviewer of children's books for The Guardian and has been a judge for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.