Robert Westall (1929-1993) was born in Northumberland, and grew up in Tyneside during WWII. He studied at Durham University, studying Fine Art, before earning a postgraduate degree in Sculpture from the Slade School of Art, in London. After serving in the British Army for two years, he became a teacher. Alongside this, he wrote more than 40 novels, two non-fiction works, various volumes of short fiction, and contributed to both local and national newspapers. He won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1990 for his novel The Kingdom by the Sea, and that and his 1992 novel Gulf were highly commended runners-up for the Carnegie Medal. He died in 1993.