|Born||28 February 1966 (age 55)|
|Occupation||Writer, illustrator, author|
|Residence||Dartmoor, Devon, England|
|Notable works||Mortal Engines Quartet|
|Notable awards||Guardian Prize |
Philip Reeve (born 28 February 1966) is a British author and illustrator of children's books, primarily known for the 2001 book Mortal Engines and its sequels. His 2007 novel, Here Lies Arthur, based on the legendary King Arthur, won the Carnegie Medal, which sets out to choose the year's best children's book published in the UK.
Born on 28 February 1966 in Brighton, Reeve studied illustration, first at Cambridgeshire College of Arts and Technology (CCAT – now Anglia Ruskin University), where he contributed a comic strip to the Student Union magazine, and later at Brighton Polytechnic (now the University of Brighton). Before becoming an illustrator he worked at a bookshop in Brighton for several years. During his student years and for a few years afterwards he wrote for and performed in comedy sketch shows with a variety of collaborators under various group names, among them The Charles Atlas Sisters. He lives on Dartmoor with his wife Sarah and their son Sam.
With Brian Mitchell, Reeve is the author of a 1998 dystopian comic musical,The Ministry of Biscuits.
"Stop! Think before you eat that biscuit! Is it in any way fancy? If so, then you are a criminal! In Post-War London, The Ministry of Biscuits casts its sinister shadow over every tea-time and elevenses in the land. Established to 'control biscuits, and to control the idea of biscuits', it prohibits decadent sweetmeats, such as the Gypsy Cream."
This was performed at the Pavilion Theatre, Brighton, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, and the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It underwent a revival in 2005 at the Sallis Benney, Brighton, and began playing at Brighton's Lantern Theatre in November 2017. It has also toured to various other locations throughout the United Kingdom.
Reeve provided cartoons for books, including those in the Horrible Histories and Murderous Maths series. He wrote the Buster Bayliss series of books for young readers, which includes Night of the Living Veg, The Big Freeze, Day of the Hamster, and Custardfinger. He is the author and illustrator of a Dead Famous non-fiction book: Horatio Nelson and His Victory.
Reeve's first book for older readers was Mortal Engines, which won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize in age category 9–11 years and made the Whitbread Book Award shortlist. Mortal Engines is the first book in a series sometimes called the Mortal Engines Quartet (2001–2006), which includes Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain. The books feature two young adventurers, Tom Natsworthy and Hester Shaw, living in a lawless post-apocalyptic world inhabited by moving cities. For the fourth volume, Reeve won the once-in-a-lifetime 2006 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, judged by a panel of British children's writers.
Reeve spent more than ten years on Mortal Engines, coming up with ideas in 1989 or 1990, leading to publication in 2001. He was working on it part-time between illustration jobs, but as he became sure he could complete such a project, he cut down his illustration work and devoted more time to writing.
The 2007 novel Here Lies Arthur is an alternative version of the Arthurian legend. Reeve and Arthur won the annual Carnegie Medal from the British librarians, recognizing the year's best children's book published in the UK.
The Larklight trilogy (2006–2008) is steampunk set in outer space. The first book Larklight was being developed as a film by the Indian director Shekhar Kapur, but he is no longer involved. Reeve professes that when planning out a novel, "I see it as a film that I run in my head, and I just keep running alternative versions of it until I come up with a cut I like. The future of the film is now in the hands of the Swedish director Tomas Alfredson.
Reeve began a series of Mortal Engines prequels with Fever Crumb (Scholastic UK, 2009). The first was one of eight finalists for the 2010 Carnegie Medal. In March 2020 Reeve said he did not intend to finish or publish a fourth book in the Fever Crumb series, as too much time had passed, thereby forgoing the world of Mortal Engines.
In 2013, Reeve had his first co-authored, highly illustrated book with British-American writer-illustrator Sarah McIntyre published by Oxford University Press: Oliver and the Seawigs. This went on to win the UKLA Award. Their third book, Pugs of the Frozen North, won an Independent Bookshop Week children's book award. The pair have a contract with the same publisher for a series of four more books, beginning with The Legend of Kevin.
In 2018, Reeve praised the 2018 Mortal Engines film adaptation, saying the director, Christian Rivers, had "done a fantastic job – a huge, visually awesome action movie with perfect pace and a genuine emotional core.... There are many changes to the characters, world, and story, but it's still fundamentally the same thing." In the Reevening in March 2020, he acknowledged the film's shortcomings, but thoughts of the filmmakers liking the books led him to welcome the US-New Zealand two-hour film co-production as the best "you could hope for [in your lifetime]". On November 18, 2020, upon asked whether Mortal Engines would be rebooted for the television screens, he responded that, while that would be nice, it seemed unlikely.
Reeve claims not to be a methodical writer. He plans nothing at all, usually starting with an opening image, a closing image, and a few vague notions for the things that happen in between. This leads to thousands of words of rough draft material being abandoned – even entire novels, such as with Fever Crumb and Mortal Engines. However, he takes ideas from these abandoned drafts to build the final version. It usually takes him a year to move a novel from first idea to publication – six months actively writing it, the rest editing and thinking.
(illustrated by David Wyatt)
Buster Bayliss series:
Goblins series (page decorations by Dave Semple)
Reeve & McIntyre Production series, published in the US as A Not-So-Impossible Tale (written together with, and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre):
Roly-Poly Flying Pony series:
I have no idea! It would be nice, but it seems unlikely.