Long-Serving IBBY Member Patricia Crampton Dies Aged Ninety
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Long-Serving IBBY Member Patricia Crampton Dies Aged Ninety

Patricia Crampton sadly passed away on 1 December 2016 at her home in Calne, Wiltshire in the UK after a lifetime dedicated to translation. She was involved with IBBY in the UK and internationally from the 1960s onwards and is especially associated with the Hans Christian Andersen Awards.

Patricia was a lively, engaging person with a marvelous sense of humor who made friends far and wide. Her intellect and enthusiasm for children’s books and especially the importance of translation made her a formidable advocate for the role of translators. Patricia successfully argued the case for translators receiving a share of the payments based on library borrowings when the Public Lending Right was introduced in the UK.

Born in Bombay in 1925 (where she learnt Hindi), her family returned to England in 1930. Patricia studied modern languages at Oxford University and at the age of twenty-two became a translator at the Nuremburg trials in Germany. Patricia spoke nine European languages and, amongst others, translated books by Paul Biegel, Anne Holm, Astrid Lindgren, and Gudrun Pausewang. She also translated Dick Bruna’s Miffy books, and although they sold worldwide in Dutch, Bruna did not think they could be easily translated into English. Patricia proved him wrong, and the translations made his books even more popular in homes and libraries throughout the English-speaking world.

Patricia was very involved throughout her life in IBBY and was also the UK representative on the Hans Christian Andersen Jury for the 1976 and 1978 awards and then president of the Jury for the 1984 and 1986 awards. The role of juror and then president of the Jury required considerable work and dedication in evaluating so many novels and picture books from National Sections. She was also a frequent attendee at international Congresses and was especially pleased to see so many friends worldwide when the Congress was hosted in London in 2012.

During her lifetime, she translated more than two hundred children’s books and fifty adult books (including Thor Heyerdal’s The Ra Expeditions). She won many prizes, including the Marsh Award in 1999 for her translation of Gudrun Pausewang’s The Final Journey and the Eleanor Farjeon award in 1991 for outstanding services to children’s books. She was also awarded the Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs medal for worldwide services to translation.

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Patricia Crampton

(photo by kind permission Harriet Crampton)

Patricia’s funeral took place on Monday, 12 December 2016, in her home town of Calne on what would have been her ninety-first birthday. Her family chose a photo for the cover of the order of service which summed up her sense of commitment and enjoyment, featuring Patricia with a glass of wine partly hidden by a copy of The New Oxford English Dictionary. [End Page 81]

John Dunne
IBBY UK
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