David Benedictus
BornDavid Henry Benedictus
(1938-09-16)16 September 1938
London, England
Died4 October 2023(2023-10-04) (aged 85)
EducationEton College
Alma materBalliol College, Oxford
University of Iowa
(m. 1971; div. 2002)
Children4, including Jolyon Maugham and Jessica Campbell

David Henry Benedictus (16 September 1938 – 4 October 2023) was an English writer and theatre director, best known for his novels. His work included the Winnie-the-Pooh novel Return to the Hundred Acre Wood (2009). It was the first such book in 81 years.


Born on 16 September 1938 to chartered accountant Henry Jules Benedictus and Kathleen Constance (née Ricardo).[1] He was educated at Eton College, Balliol College, Oxford, and the University of Iowa.[1] His first novel The Fourth of June was a best-seller and he adapted it for the London stage. His second novel, You're a Big Boy Now, was made into a 1966 feature film directed by Francis Ford Coppola. He was an assistant to Trevor Nunn at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He has also worked as a commissioning editor for Drama at Channel 4, and ran the Book at Bedtime series for BBC Radio 4.[2]

Benedictus previously wrote and produced audio readings of the Pooh stories, with Judi Dench as Kanga and Geoffrey Palmer as Eeyore.[3] He sent the trustees of the A. A. Milne estate two sample stories of his sequel, and it took more than eight years for them to approve the project.[3]

At the time of the book's publication he admitted to nerves over its reception, saying,

What's the worst thing that can happen, that I'll be torn apart by wild journalists? Happened before and I survived. At worst everyone will hate me and I'll just crawl under a bush and hide – I can live with that. Some people do hate the whole idea of a sequel, but it's not as if I'm doing any damage to the original, that will still be there. My hope is that people will finish reading a cracking story and just want more of them, and that's where I come in.[3]

Michael Brown, chairman of the Pooh Properties Trust, said Benedictus had a "wonderful feel" for the world of Pooh.[4] However, Publishers Weekly was cool on the book, describing it as "largely forgettable" and as missing "the charm of the first book".[5]

Benedictus commented on his work in 1985, "Given peace of mind, financial independence, and a modicum of luck, I may produce a novel to be proud of one day."[6] In March, 2014, he moved to Hove, a resort on the south coast of England, to be close to his extending family. He has four children, Jolyon Maugham KC, a barrister,[7] Leo a journalist and novelist (The Afterparty, his first novel, was published by Jonathan Cape), Chloe a psychodynamic psychotherapist, and Jessica Campbell, a theatre producer.

Benedictus published an autobiography, Dropping Names, in 2005. According to an interview Benedictus gave to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot in 2009, he said that a cousin had done research into his surname and found out that it was actually "Baruch" (ברוך - having the same meaning as "Benedictus" in Hebrew), as well as research into how his ancestors emigrated to Britain, which revealed that they have Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

Benedictus died suddenly on 4 October 2023, at the age of 85.[8][9]



  1. ^ a b "Benedictus, David Henry, (born 16 Sept. 1938), critic, book writer, director for stage, television and radio, teacher and stamp dealer". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u7207. Retrieved 4 March 2021.
  2. ^ "David Benedictus author profile". Egmont Publishing. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Kennedy, Maev (4 October 2009). "Pooh sequel returns Christopher Robin to Hundred Acre Wood". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  4. ^ Lee, Felicia (4 October 2009). "The Same Pooh Bear, but an Otter Has Arrived". The New York Times. Retrieved 21 October 2009.
  5. ^ "Return to the Hundred Acre Wood". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  6. ^ Kirkpatrick, D. L.; Vinson, James. Contemporary Novelists (1986), p. 93.
  7. ^ Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (29 August 2017). "Katie Hopkins' attempt to shame barrister on Twitter for having an Etonian father backfires". The Independent. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  8. ^ Harding, Laura (9 October 2023). "Author and playwright David Benedictus dies aged 85". The Independent. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  9. ^ "David Benedictus obituary". The Times. 12 October 2023. Retrieved 12 October 2023.