Ann Pilling

Ann Pilling was born in Lancashire in 1944 and lived there for 20 years. She read English at King’s College, London where she subsequently wrote a thesis on the fiction of C.S.Lewis which effectively became her first book. Between 1983 and 2003 she published over 30 books for children and two adult novels. Two titles were commended for the Carnegie Medal and she won The Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction for her novel Henry’s Leg.

Until recently Ann lived in Oxford but has just moved to Wensleydale in the Yorkshire Dales (the country of her heart) with her husband. She has two sons and six grandchildren.

Growing Pains was a winner in the 2007 Book & Pamphlet Competition.



‘Ann Pilling’s poems have the precision gained in a lifetime of professional writing, the particular glow of long-treasured memories, and the passion of long-stored speech.’ — Kate Clanchy

‘Through childhood, loss and living, these poems carry the reader with them, through pain, through the warmth and wisdom of their final lines. They bring bravado, biscuit tins and balloons. They bring hope.’ — Alison Brackenbury


That Christmas we got Leprosy. They all
shunned us because of what you’d done
and every line went dead. They left
things on the step, little notes, flowers,
even a pie, but nobody rang the bell
except Brown from the Church who Daddy screamed away
beefing him shit-scared down the path.

                                                                        Each year
The smells come back, earth gas, the brown-bread smell
of Auntie’s house, and feelings, how all food
stuck half way down my throat like something hooked
on a bent nail. 

It was cold when you died, they used special cutters
to start that small black hole they dropped you in.
I still see it, the grubby back-cloth of the town
the uncles and the tall priest
curled over your grave like rooks.

Titles by this author

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