Famous for his works of children's literature and detective fiction, this Northern Rhodesian-born English writer penned such award-winning books as City of Gold, Tulku, The Flight of Dragons, and Eva.
After graduating from King's College, Cambridge, he had a nearly two-decade career as a poet, literature reviewer, and editor with Punch magazine.
His numerous literary honors include the Guardian Prize, the Horn Book Award, the Carnegie Medal, and the Phoenix Award.
His first marriage, to Mary Rose Barnard, resulted in four children, including a son, John Dickinson, who became a successful writer. Following Barnard's death, he married fellow children's author Robin McKinley.
During his childhood years, he was inspired by the work of Rudyard Kipling.