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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > August 2016 > Beat the bestsellers

Beat the bestsellers

The pioneer of modern children’s picture book writing, Beatrix Potter, was born 150 years ago. Underpinning her work was a seamless harmony between animal and human nature, says Tony Rossiter

The techniques and styles of ...BEATRIX POTTER

‘You may go into the fields or down the lane, but don’t go into Mr McGregor’s garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put into a pie by Mrs McGregor.’

But Peter is a naughty rabbit who does not do as he is told, and he does not follow Mrs Rabbit’s instructions. His behaviour mirrors that of a naughty child. No wonder The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902) was such a success. Beatrix Potter went on to write and illustrate a further 23 bestselling books of animal tales.


From an early age Beatrix was fascinated by natural history, science and art. Born in 1866 into a well-to-do, upper-middle class Victorian household, she was brought up by nannies and governesses; but on the third floor of the house in Bolton Gardens, Kensington, she and her brother were allowed to keep a menagerie which included, at various times, rabbits, a green frog, lizards, newts, bats, snails, guinea pigs, canary, budgerigar, duck, tortoise and hedgehog. She observed these animals closely and drew them endlessly.

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Earn from your writing and get published: Cash prize competitions, calls for submissions and writing opportunities in 20 pages of Writers' News Discover your inner writer Cut to the heart of your novel – without losing the plot Social skills: Learn to use your online time to the max 10 top tips to get your book published and keep it selling Reader successes: Readers share their success stories Meet our publishing deal competition winner Star interview: Prize-winning poet and author Kei Miller on writing without boundaries

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