Philip Pullman's thrilling fantasy comes alive in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation. A breathtaking epic, the award-winning "His Dark Materials" trilogy spans a multitude of worlds. The second instalment, "The Subtle Knife", introduces Will Parry - a young boy in search of his long-lost explorer father. Will's discovery of an extraordinary 'window in the air' near the Oxford ring road leads him out of our world and into the strange and unsettling Cittagazze. There he meets Lyra, a girl who is herself searching for something: the secret of the mystical substance Dust. Moving back and forth through the portal, Will and Lyra join forces in their quest. As they make allies and enemies along the way, they also learn of the subtle knife. An object which many would kill to possess, the knife has incredible powers, and Will finds himself reluctantly in a fight for its possession. Ray Fearon, Emma Fielding, Peter Marinker and Jack Klaff are amongst the cast in this gripping dramatisation.
Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular. From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. It was a time when children were allowed to roam anywhere, to play in the streets, to wander over the hills, and he took full advantage of it. His English teacher, Miss Enid Jones, was a big influence on him, and he still sends her copies of his books.
After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer. He taught courses on the Victorian novel and on the folk tale, and also a course examining how words and pictures fit together. He eventually left teaching in order to write full-time.
His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke. He is best known for the award winning His Dark Materials series, consisting of Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.