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Stig of the Dump author dies at his Norfolk home

PUBLISHED: 07:41 14 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:48 14 July 2018

Clive King, author of Stig of the Dump
Photo: Bill Darnell

Clive King, author of Stig of the Dump Photo: Bill Darnell

Author Clive King, best known for his children’s book Stig Of The Dump, has died at his Norfolk home.

Clive King, author of Stig of the Dump
Photo: Bill DarnellClive King, author of Stig of the Dump Photo: Bill Darnell

Publisher Puffin confirmed today that Mr King died on July 10 aged 94 and that he was survived by his widow Penny and three children.

His most famous book, Stig Of The Dump, was first published in 1963 and told the story of a boy called Barney who comes across a caveman called Stig living in a dump at the bottom of a nearby chalk-pit.

The book, which has sold more than two million copies, was inspired by Mr King’s own adventures growing up with his three brothers in Kent.

Considered a children’s classic, Stig Of The Dump has been taught in schools across the country, and adapted for television three times.

Speaking to the EDP in 2002 when the BBC was turning the story into a six-part series, Mr King, who made the south Norfolk village of Thurlton his home, said: “The book was very much autobiographical, and as it was written in the early 1960s it is based on the world we knew then. Times have changed so much that the latest television version has had to bring it up to date which I think is absolutely right.”

His main concern had been was whether Stig would be portrayed as a boy or the ageless creature he created.

“I don’t like some of the covers of the book which have been published which show Stig more like a flower fairy than a caveman so the only thing I said to Peter (producer Peter Tabern) was ‘Don’t make him a fairy’. People always ask me how old Stig is, and I just say 10,000 years old.”

Mr King’s other books include Hamid Of Aleppo, The Twenty-Two Letters, The Town That Went South, The Night The Water Came, Me And My Million and Ninny’s Boat.

Mr King, who was born in Richmond, Surrey, in 1924, also served in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve and worked as a language teacher for the British Council.

Francesca Dow, managing director of Penguin Random House Children’s, said: “We feel privileged and proud to be Clive King’s publisher and are sad to hear of his passing. This year our Stone Age Stig is 55-years-old. However, the book’s depiction of the vivid interior life and imagination of a child, the delight of roaming free, making shelters and dens away from the grown-ups, as well as ideas such as the universal language of friendship - and even the importance of recycling - feel as fresh and relevant today as they did when Puffin first published it in 1963.”

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