Winning Year: 1981 Illustrator: Charles Keeping Title: The Highwayman
OUP Current Publisher:
9780192723703 In Print
This is the illustrated version of the poem The Highwayman, written by Alfred Noyes and originally published in 1906. It tells the story of a highwayman and his doomed love for Bess, the landlord's daughter.
Charles Keeping was born in 1924 and grew up in Lambeth, London; in a terraced house with three generations of his family. He lived in an inner city environment of street markets and working horses that would inspire his work. Charles and his elder sister, Grace, drew and made up stories from an early age, on spare news stand placards brought home by their father, also called Charles Keeping, who distributed newspapers to shops and news stands in the area.
As a boy he loved drawing and horses, and did badly at school and left at 14. The Second World War broke out the following year, and when he turned 18 in 1942 he was called up and joined the Royal Navy as a wireless operator. He returned to civilian life in 1946 with profound depression.
Charles applied to study art at Regent Street Polytechnic, but for several years was turned down, so instead he read meters for a gas company during the day and took life drawing classes in the evening. He also worked as a life model and in 1949 he attracted the eye of a student called Renate Meyer, who went on to marry him in 1952. They had four children. Charles died in 1988.
There is a really nice teachers aid for this poem, good to use on the interactive white boards:
A brilliant poem/book with spooky illusrations. Only for older readers, it tells the tragic love story of the highwayman and bess, who took her life to save him. It is quite depressing, but a very good read, and i highly reccommend it for people aged 9-15.