Robert Louis Stevenson: Facts and Information

Robert Louis Stevenson was a famous Victorian author. He mainly wrote mystery and adventure stories, and his books are still read and enjoyed today.

Here are some facts about Robert Louis Stevenson:

  • Robert Louis Stevenson was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1850. His family were wealthy and, as a child, he was looked after by his nanny, Alison Cunningham.

  • When he was twelve, Robert Louis Stevenson, his parents and his nanny went on a five month holiday. They visited France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Italy.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson was a sickly child. He was exceedingly thin and frail, and he suffered with coughs and fevers.
  • When he was just sixteen he wrote The Pentland Rising, a story based on an historical event. His father paid for 100 copies to be printed in pamphlet form.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson went to Edinburgh University. He started to study engineering, but soon switched to studying the law. He passed his legal exams, but in his heart he knew he wanted to be a writer.
  • In 1876 he went on a canoeing trip to Belgium and France with a friend. He kept a journal of his travels and used it to form the basis of his first book, An Inland Voyage.
  • In France, Stevenson met an American woman called Fanny Osbourne. He fell in love with her.
  • In 1879, Robert Louis Stevenson travelled all the way from Britain to America to see Fanny Osbourne, and they got married in 1880. They decided to live in Britain and set up home with Fanny’s twelve year old son (from her previous marriage), Lloyd.
  • In 1881 the Stevenson family went on holiday in Scotland. It rained for days on end, and to pass the time Lloyd made up an drew a map of an imaginary island. The map made Robert Louis Stevenson think of pirates and treasure, and inspired him to write Treasure Island.
  • Treasure island was first published as a book in 1883. It was very successful and turned Robert Louis Stevenson into a well-known writer.
  • Robert Louis Stevenson continued to experience health problems as an adult. He suffered with chest infections and was often so ill he couldn’t leave his bed.
  • In 1886 he wrote both The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and Kidnapped. Much of the writing was done from his sickbed.
  • From 1888 to 1890, the Stevenson family spent two years sailing around the Pacific Ocean islands. Robert Louis Stevenson decided to build a house on the island of Upolu, in Western Samoa. He carried on writing, but found it increasingly difficult as his illness become worse.
  • In December 1894, Robert Louis Stevenson died. He was only 44 years old. His body was buried on Mount Vaea, Upolu.

21 Dick King-Smith Facts

The British author Dick King-Smith is probably best known for his children’s books about animals. He wrote his first book in 1978, and his stories are still being read by children all over the world.

Here are some facts about Dick King-Smith. Hopefully you’ll find out something you didn’t know about this great children’s writer.

  1. Dick King-Smith was born on 27th March 1922 and he died on 4th January 2011. He was aged 88.
  2. He said that he had a very happy childhood, living in the countryside in Somerset.
  3. His father owned and ran several paper mills.
  4. Dick King-Smith went to school at Marlborough College, a famous public school.
  5. He joined the Army in 1939 and served in the Grenadier Guards. He was mostly fighting in Italy and he took part in the Salerno landings.
  6. Dick King-Smith was wounded in Florence during World War Two and he was forced to return home to England.
  7. Dick married his childhood girlfriend, Myrle, on 6th February 1943.
  8. After the war ended, he became the manager of a farm owned by his Dad’s company.
  9. Dick and Myrle had three children – two daughters (Juliet and Lizzie) and one son (Giles).
  10. Unfortunately, Dick’s farm was forced to close (because the family paper mill company went out of business) and he had to find a new job. He tried his hand at selling fire-fighting equipment and working in a shoe factory before he decided to train to be a teacher.
  11. Dick King-Smith was a teacher at Farmborough Primary School.
  12. Dick King-Smith’s first book, The Fox Busters, was published in 1978.
  13. Once he started writing books for children, Dick found it hard to stop. He has written over one hundred children’s books and at one point he was writing about eight every year.
  14. His most famous book is called The Sheep Pig and this was turned into the film Babe.
  15. Dick often appeared on the TV series Rub-A-Dub Tub and Pob.
  16. His house was called Diamond Cottage (in Somerset) and his writing office was right at the very top.
  17. He wrote all of his first drafts in pen and he typed them up on an old typewriter.
  18. Dick loved animals. He had pet dogs called Susie and Dodo, pet rats and mice, and he enjoyed breeding budgies, geese and rabbits.
  19. Myrle, Dick’s wife, passed away in 2000.
  20. Dick King-Smith was awarded an OBE in 2010.
  21. His final book was published in 2007 and it was called The Mouse Family Robinson.

What next? Learn more about other famous children’s authors.