Farjeon was born in London in 1881 into a family inured in art and literature. Her father, Benjamin Leopold was a novelist and her mother, Margaret Jane was the daughter of the American Actor, Joseph Jefferson.  Farjeon is recorded as suffering with poor eyesight and ill-health as a child. Their family home hosted actors, musicians and writers.  She lived openly with, first, George Earle and then, Denys Blakelock.  She formed friendships with D.H. Lawrence, Edward Thomas and Viola Meynell. In 1951 she became a Roman Catholic. Farjeon is noted for her pacifism. 

Her literary talent spanned poetry, biography, history, children’s stories and plays and enjoyed a long reach. She has a considerable reputation as a children’s poet.  Pan Worship and other Poems was published in 1908 and The Soul of Kol Nikonin in 1914. Duckworth Publishers produced her first collection of children’s poems in 1916 called Nursery Rhymes of London Town. Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard, published in 1921 was well received by the literary world. She produced an autobiography of her home and family called A Nursery in the Nineties in 1935. Her most widely published work is the hymn, ‘Morning has Broken’, 1931. Farjeon wrote for several journals and periodicals, two of which were associated with the Socialist Movement. 

The 1950’s earned Farjeon three major, literary awards, the Carnegie Medal for British children’s books, the inaugural Hans Christian Anderson award and the inaugural Regina Medal.  The Eleanor Farjeon Award is managed annually by the Children’s Book Circle.  

Poems by Eleanor Farjeon

Wendy Cope reading the work of Eleanor Farjeon – for BBC 100 - Eleanor Farjeon

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