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John Rowe Townsend was born in Leeds, England, and was educated at Leeds Grammar School and at Cambridge University, where he took an honours degree in English and edited the undergraduate newspaper. After working as a journalist on the Yorkshire Post and the Evening Standard, he joined what was then the Manchester Guardian, in 1949. From 1955 to 1969 he was editor of the Guardian's weekly international edition, but gave up this post in order to have more time for writing. Until 1978 he retained a connection with the Guardian as its Children's Books Editor, and still writes for the paper occasionally.
Mr Townsend has had a lifelong interest in children's books. In addition to reviewing them in the Guardian and elsewhere, he has lectured on books for children both in this country and in the United States and is the author of two studies of children's literature, Written for Children, and A Sense of Story.
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