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Elizabeth Goudge

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Elizabeth Goudge
Elizabeth Goudge was an English author of novels, short stories and children's books.

Elizabeth de Beauchamp Goudge was born on 24 April 1900 in Wells, Somerset, in Tower House close by the cathedral in an area known as The Liberty, Her father, the Reverend Henry Leighton Goudge, taught in the cathedral school. Her mother was Miss Ida Collenette from the Channel Isles. Elizabeth was an only child. The family moved to Ely for a Canonry as Principal of the theological college. Later, when her father was made Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford, they moved to Christ Church, Oxford.
She went to boarding school during WWI and later to Arts College, presumably at Reading College. She made a small living as teacher, and continued to live with her parents. During this time, she wrote a few plays, and was encouraged to write novels by a publisher. As her writing career took off, she began to travel to other nations. Unfortunately, she suffered from depression for much of her life. She had great empathy for people and a talent for finding the comic side of things, displayed to great effect in her writing.

Goudge's first book, The Fairies' Baby and Other Stories (1919), was a failure and it was several years before she authored Island Magic (1934), which is based on Channel Island stories, many of which she had learned from her mother, who was from Guernsey. After the death of her father, Goudge and her mother went to Devon, and eventually wound up living there in a small cottage. There, she wrote prolifically and was happy.

After the death of her mother, and at the wishes of Goudge's family who wished her to live closer to them, she found a companion who moved with her to Rose Cottage in Reading. She lived out her life there, and had many dogs in her life. Goudge loved dogs, and much preferred their company to that of humans. She continued to write until shortly before her death, when ill health, successive falls, and cataracts hindered her ability to write. She was much loved.

Goudge was awarded the Carnegie Medal for The Little White Horse (1946), the book which J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter stories, has said was her favorite as a child. The television mini-series Moonacre was based on The Little White Horse. Her Green Dolphin Country (1944) was made into a film (under its American title, Green Dolphin Street) which won the Academy Award for Special Effects in 1948.

A Diary of Prayer (1966) was one of Goudge's last works. She spent her last years in her cottage on Peppard Common, just outside Henley-on-Thames, where a blue plaque was unveiled in 2008.

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