Best known as the author of the Winnie-the-Pooh books, A. A. Milne is surely one of Britain's most respected children's authors. His books have been loved by children for nearly a century and the Disney adaptations of his Winnie-the-Pooh books have ensured his characters really have stayed alive in the public conscious. Everyone knows all about the residents of the Hundred Acre Wood but how much do you know about the man who invented it? Who was A.A. Milne? Read on to find out.
When was A.A. Milne born?
A.A. Milne was born Alan Alexander Milne in Hampstead on 18 January, 1882. He died on 31 January, 1956 at the age of 74.
What was A.A. Milne's early life like?
His father was the headmaster of the private school he attended where he was taught by none other than famous science fiction author H.G. Wells. After studying at Westminster School, he embarked on a degree in Mathematics at Cambridge University.
When did A.A. Milne start writing?
After university, he started his career as a writer, mostly writing humorous articles for Punch magazine until he was given the position of assistant editor. He also released a collection of children's poems called When We Were Very Young which was illustrated by E.H. Shepard, Milne's colleague at Punch, who would later go on to illustrate his most famous works, The Winnie-the Pooh series.
At this time, A.A. Milne was also producing novels, plays and even took on screenwriting for early British cinema.
What books did A.A. Milne write?
A.A. Milne was the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh stories and the famous novels Once on a Time and The Red House Mystery, a thrilling detective story.
Who was A.A. Milne inspired by?
A.A. Milne's son, Christopher Robin Milne's, teddy bear inspired the character of Winnie-the-Pooh, while Christopher Robin also made appearances in the book. All of Christopher's soft toys were included in the stories! Winnie-the-Pooh was given to Christopher Robin for his first birthday and was named after a black bear that lived at London Zoo. Winnie, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo were all once owned by the real Christopher Robin and all but Roo are on display at the New York Public Library.
What was A.A. Milne's personal life like?
Milne married Daphne Selincourt in 1913 and their only child, Christopher Robin Milne, was born in 1920.
He fought during World War I but was sent home after being injured at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. For the remainder of the war, he took on the role of writing propaganda articles for the British Military Intelligence.
In 1952, Milne had a stroke and died 3 years later. After his death, the rights to Winnie-the-Pooh were split between his family, Westminster School, the Royal Literary Trust and the Garrick Club (a gentlemen's club in London). The rights were split further, however, when his wife sold part of her rights to the Walt Disney Company.
Now you know a little more about the man behind literature's favourite bear. A.A. Milne will always be best remembered for his Winnie-the-Pooh stories but in his life, he was known for his novels, plays, films and poetry so if his stories of the Hundred Acre Wood entertained you as a child maybe you should try some of his works for adults.