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  • Writer's pictureThe British Polio Fellowship

Biography published about polio survivor Richmal Crompton

A biography written by Jane McVeigh about the life of polio survivor Richmal Crompton, creator of the Just William series was published in April.

McVeigh is an Honorary Research Fellow at Roehampton University, London and teaches for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education. She specialises in life writing and twentieth century British women writers. Her most recent work, Richmal Crompton, Author of Just William: A Literary Life was published last month by Palgrave Macmillan.

McVeigh explained what drew her to writing about Richmal Crompton: "I immediately felt a connection, not so much with manuscripts and letters, but with the books in her personal library. It was almost as if they were reaching out to me, and I have felt obligated to write this literary life ever since."

Richmal Crompton is best known for her Just William series of books, about a mischievous 11-year-old schoolboy and his friends, known as "The Outlaws".

Crompton contracted polio in 1923 when she was 32. She was left without the use of her right leg. She retired from teaching and focused on writing. Her William stories sold over twelve million copies in the UK alone.

As part of her research, McVeigh contacted Kripen Dhrona, Chief Executive of the British Polio Fellowship for advice and information on polio and how it effects survivors.

“I was happy to help and offer advice. We had a long chat about the book and what life must have been like for Richmal Crompton with polio. Jane has sent me a copy of the book and I’m looking forward to reading it” commented Dhrona.

Crompton never married or had children. She died in 1969, age 78 after a heart attack.

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