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Susan Cooper

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Susan Cooper has been writing for over 30 years. In this time she has written numerous newspaper articles, books for children and adults, screenplays for TV, the cinema and a Broadway play. As a writer she is hard to classify, what is universally accepted is that she is a writer with extraordinary gifts.

Born in Burnham, Buckinghamshire, England in May 1935, Susan Cooper attended Slough High School before going up to Oxford University. At Somerville College she read English. During her time at Oxford she was the first woman ever to edit the University magazine, Cherwell. After graduating with an MA in English, she began work as a reporter on the Atticus Column of London's The Sunday Times (her first boss was Ian Fleming). She later became a feature writer.

Her first books were born during this period. Written after work and at weekends, her first was a so-called science fiction novel, Mandrake. And in response to a publishing house competition for a children's adventure story, Over Sea, Under Stone.

In 1963 she left England to marry an American, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and went "rather nervously" to live in the USA. She wrote two more books for adults: a study of America, Behind the Golden Curtain and a biography of J.B. Priestley, Portrait of An Author.

A further novel, the autobiographical Dawn of Fear published in 1970, was written before continuing the Dark Is Rising series. Dawn of Fear is a solitary, looking at the experience of living in war-time Britain through the eyes of a child. The book is almost totally autobiographical except for the fact, as the author herself states, "I turned myself into a boy".

It is, however The Dark Is Rising series which is synonymous with the name Susan Cooper. The first in the series, Over Sea, Under Stone, is perhaps more readily identified as a family adventure story than the other DR books - but it is much more than that. In Over Sea, Under Stone we have the first insights into the battle between the Dark and the Light and the introduction to the Arthurian and Celtic myths and legends which permeate the whole of the sequence. After completing Over Sea, Under Stone the reader has experienced only a taster of what is to come in the remaining stories. During the dozen or so years that
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