'Redwall' Author Brian Jacques Dies At 71

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

British author Brian Jacques, who wrote the best-selling Redwall children's series has died. A message on his official website said the creator of the 21-story series, which sold an estimated 20 million copies, passed away on Feb. 5. Jacques was 71.


Fans of children's literature might recognize this voice.

Mr. BRIAN JACQUES (Author, "Redwall"): (Reading) Down long ages, the beautiful old abbey had stood for happiness, peace and refuge to all.

MONTAGNE: That's author Brian Jacques, and the abbey he's speaking of is Redwall Abbey, for which his children's series is named.


Mr. Jacques died on Saturday, and this morning we remember him and his creations. They include some 21 books starring mice, the heroes of his stories, along with badgers and squirrels. Those creatures fight their beloved abbey from marauding hordes of rats and weasels.

The books pull from Jacques' own experiences in Liverpool, England where he was born and raised.

Ms. ANITA SILVEY (Editor/Literary Critic): He always said he got his degree in the University of Life.

INSKEEP: That's the children's book expert Anita Silvey.

Ms. SILVEY: He had so many experiences. He was a truck driver and he was a longshoreman. And he just did so many occupations that when he finally came to writing, he had an enormous reservoir to draw upon.

MONTAGNE: Jacques was well into his 40s when his first book, "Redwall," was published. It was over 300 pages and featured animals. Silvey says it was not an immediate bestseller.

Ms. SILVEY: In the 1980s, conventional wisdom was that children did not want to read anything over 200 pages, and they wanted to read about children like themselves.

MONTAGNE: But the books caught on and Jacques developed a devoted following. His books sold millions of copies around the world by the time of his death at the age of 71. And his publishing life will go on. One more book is scheduled for publication in May.

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from