Brian Jacques was born in Liverpool, England, and when he was 10, he got a school assignment to write a story about animals. So he wrote one about a bird and a crocodile — and get this — it was so good that his teacher thought he copied it, so he was punished!
Well, when I found about this, I had three thoughts:
1. His teacher’s a jerk!
2. Thank goodness the assignment was about animals — can you imagine if the heroes and heroines of Redwall were, say, weather balloons?
3. I’m really glad the jerk teacher didn’t change Brian’s mind about writing!
Because then we got Redwall. Mossflower. Mattimeo. Salamandastron. Martin the Warrior. Pearls of Lutra. The list of Brian Jacques’ books goes on and on, and those are just a few from the Redwall series! He’s also written the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman series, Seven Strange and Ghostly Tales (maybe I’ll pick that one up in time for Halloween), and many more!
Jacques traveled the world after finishing school at 15 and has worked as:
- a merchant seaman
- a railway fireman
- a longshoreman
- a long-distance truck driver
- a bus driver
- a boxer
- a policeman constable (a “bobby” in England)
- a postmaster
- a stand-up comic
Which, I’m guessing, is why there are so many diverse and interesting personalities and occupations in his books — because he’s done so much and met so many interesting people around the world!
Something I always thought was interesting about the characters in the Redwall series is that species were not always bound to their “stereotype.” For instance, in Outcast of Redwall, a ferret — which are usually shifty, bad-tempered creatures — really comes through for everyone.
I always was on a look-out for a dog or a cat in his stories — alas, none. I guess the land of Redwall was limited to wild woodland creatures. But a household cat can dream.
Some More Fun Facts:
- Brian Jacques’ full name is James Brian Jacques, but his father and brother are both named James, so he goes by Brian.
- Jacques is pronounced “Jakes,” and for many years Brian Jacques hosted a radio show in England called “Jakestown.”
- The first time his publisher read one of his stories, Brian didn’t even know — because his friend submitted it without telling him!
— Nancy, STACKS Staffer