Kevin's writing journey was clearly inspired by his parents, both of whom had artistic talents. His relationship with his father was expertly detailed in his recently-published The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood which paints a picture of his composer and musicologist father who would recount Celtic fairy tales to Kevin and his sister at bedtime, sometimes accompanying himself on a Welsh harp. It was his father who taught him to reach out beyond the physical boundaries, to be a seeker always on a quest, and to learn about the layers of time and the lasting significance of story-telling. 'A lovely poignant book', Rowan Williams said, 'not wasting a work and evoking place in a deep way'.
Kevin is President of the School Library Association. Since becoming an Anglia Ruskin honorary, he has been awarded an honorary doctorate (of Letters) by the University of Worcester. His new collection of poems, The Breaking Hour, is to be published by Enitharmon Press in June 2015.
"Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to read the citation for Kevin Crossley-Holland for the award of Doctor of Letters.
Kevin Crossley-Holland is a highly-revered writer covering the genres of myth, medievalism and legend. At the heart of his fiction lies an attempt to interpret the medieval world and to explore the crossing-places of different cultures and religious beliefs.
He is an internationally renowned poet, broadcaster, translator and a prize-winning author for adults and children. Widely regarded for his translations of such classics as Beowulf and his reinterpretations of Arthur - which have been translated into over 20 languages - he also writes definitive collections of Norse myths and British and Irish folk-tales.
Born in Mursley, Buckinghamshire, Kevin grew up in Whiteleaf, a small village in the Chilterns. He attended Bryanston School in Dorset followed by St Edmund Hall at Oxford University where he discovered a passion for Anglo-Saxon literature. After graduating, he became the Gregory Fellow in Poetry at the University of Leeds and he then lectured in Anglo-Saxon for the Tufts University of London programme. He has also taught in the MidWest of America. Kevin was the Fulbright Distinguished Visiting Professor at Saint Olaf College before holding the Endowed Chair in the Humanities at the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota.
His writing career began when he started working as a poetry, fiction and children's book editor for international publishers Macmillan from where he later moved to take up the position of Editorial Director at major British book publisher Victor Gollancz.
Among his numerous awards and prizes are the Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Nestlé Smarties Prize Bronze Medal, and the Tir na n-Og Award for Arthur: The Seeing Stone, the first part of the acclaimed Arthur Trilogy, the Carnegie Medal for Storm, a short novel of drama and adventure, and a Carnegie shortlisting for Gatty's Tale, a follow up to his Arthur trilogy and his first 'full-blooded novel.'
Kevin's writing journey was clearly inspired by his parents, both of whom had artistic talents. His relationship with his father was expertly detailed in his recently-published The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood which paints a picture of his composer and musicologist father who would recount Celtic fairy tales to Kevin and his sister at bedtime, sometimes accompanying himself on a Welsh harp. It was his father who taught him to reach out beyond the physical boundaries, to be a seeker always on a quest, and to learn about the layers of time and the lasting significance of story-telling.
Much of Kevin's written work has been based on the culture and history of the East of England and the area now covered by Anglia Ruskin University including Norfolk, Cambridge and Essex. This work has included pioneering translations of Beowulf and The Battle of Maldon; The Green Children and The Wildman, two operas with the distinguished composer Nicola Lefanu; the prose and poetry of Waterslain; his outstanding collection of Fenland and East Anglian folk tales The Old Stories; and the co-authorship of a play for Eastern Angles about the Anglo-Saxon dynasty, The Wuffings.
Kevin is an active advocate and promoter of poetry, storytelling and English studies. He has frequently lectured abroad on behalf of the British Council, regularly visits colleges, libraries, literary festivals and schools to lead poetry and prose workshops.
In his role as a major ambassador for the publishing sector Kevin is now giving back his time and energy to help others progress their own literary careers.
Kevin is currently patron of the European Storytelling Archive based within the Faculty of Arts Law & Social Sciences which records and preserves performances by professional storytellers and encourages children and students to tell and share their stories. His participation inspires many academics and students to excel in their chosen creative fields.
Kevin Crossley-Holland is an outstandingly gifted writer who encourages his readers to enter the many mysterious and magical places of the world of fiction. His own career with its own particular twists and turns has turned out to have a magical ending which we are delighted to acknowledge today.
Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present Kevin Crossley-Holland for the award of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa."