Walter John de la Mare was an English poet, short story writer and novelist, probably best remembered for his works for children and The Listeners
. He was descended from a family of French Huguenots, and was educated at St Paul's School. His first book, Songs of Childhood
, was published under the name Walter Ramal. He worked in the statistics department of the London office of Standard Oil for eighteen years while struggling to bring up a family, but nevertheless found enough time to write, and, in 1908, through the efforts of Sir Henry Newbolt he received a Civil List pension which enabled him to concentrate on writing;
One of de la Mare's special interests was the imagination, and this contributed both to the popularity of his children's writing and to his other work occasionally being taken less seriously than it deserved.
De la Mare also wrote some subtle psychological horror stories; "Seaton's Aunt" and "Out of the Deep" are noteworthy examples. His 1921 novel, Memoirs of a Midget
, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction.