Charles Causley

Cornish, 1917-2003

Charles Causley was born in Cornwall in 1917. He published his first play, Runaway, at the age of nineteen. Soon afterward—as it was the height of World War II—he entered the Navy. His service allowed him to gain admittance to the Peterborough Training College, where he earned the necessary qualification to teach primary school in his hometown. He continued to teach at the primary school until his retirement, even as his literary career blossomed.

In the 1950s, he published his first collections of poems: Farewell Aggie Weston, Survivor’s Leave, and Union Street. He later published several collections for children. His poetry’s frequent references to Cornwall and its legends proved popular in his homeland, and led to his being named a Bard of the Cornish Gorsedd in 1955. He also received a CBE in 1986, a Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 1967, and the Heywood Hill Literary Prize in 2000, among other prizes. Causley died in 2003 but remains a beloved poet in Cornwall, where his children’s poetry often appears in school readers and literature textbooks.