Paton Walsh was a prolific children’s author, publishing over 20 books for young readers throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, including Grace, Matthew and the Sea Singer, and When I Was Little Like You.
In 1994, she attempted to sell her novel Knowledge of Angels to British publishers but couldn’t find a press that was interested. She self-published the book, and it subsequently landed on the Booker Prize shortlist. A reviewer for Kirkus called the novel “an exquisitely mounted, immaculately designed fable” and “a brilliantly crafted, haunting tale.”
In a 2010 essay for the Guardian, Paton Walsh said the novel was “the one I was born to write.
“My wonderful agent, Bruce Hunter, sent the manuscript round London publishing houses, and it began to come back accompanied by interesting rejection letters,” Paton Walsh recalled. “I particularly cherish one which said the book would still be read in 100 years but was unpublishable now.”
In 1998, she released Thrones, Dominations, her finished version of a previously unfinished novel by Dorothy L. Sayers featuring the detective Lord Peter Wimsey. Paton Walsh would later write three more books featuring Wimsey: A Presumption of Death, The Attenbury Emeralds, and The Late Scholar.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.