Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights

Written by Philip Pullman
Part of the His Dark Materials Series

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Winner of the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2007 and Carnegie winner in 1995.

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Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

The first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy.

When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendor of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to speak about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her - something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights…


'One of the supreme literary dreamers and magicians of our time.' Guardian

'One of those books which one can hardly bear to close.' Scotsman

About the Author

Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman was born in Norwich on 19th October 1946. The early part of his life was spent travelling all over the world, because his father and then his stepfather were both in the Royal Air Force. He spent part of his childhood in Australia, where he first met the wonders of comics, and grew to love Superman and Batman in particular.

From the age of 11, he lived in North Wales, having moved back to Britain. After he left school he went to Exeter College, Oxford, to read English. He did a number of odd jobs for a while, and then moved back to Oxford to become a teacher. He taught at various middle schools for twelve years, and then moved to Westminster College, Oxford, to be a part-time lecturer.

His first published novel was for adults, but he began writing for children when he was a teacher. Some of his novels were based on plays he wrote for his school pupils, such as The Ruby In The Smoke.

His most well-known work is the trilogy His Dark Materials, beginning with Northern Lights (The Golden Compass in the USA) in 1995, continuing with The Subtle Knife in 1997, and concluding with The Amber Spyglass in 2000. These books have been honoured by several prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children's Book Award, and (for The Amber Spyglass) the Whitbread Book of the Year Award - the first time in the history of that prize that it was given to a children's book.

Northern Lights won the Carnegie Medal in 1996, and ten years later it was awarded the Carnegie of Carnegies, chosen by readers from all the books that have won this medal in the 70 years since it was first awarded. In 2001 The Amber Spyglass became the first children’s book to win the overall Whitbread Award (now known as the Costa Award).

In 2002 he won the Eleanor Farjeon Award for children's literature and in 2005 jointly won the Astrid Lindgren Award with the Japanese illustrator Ryoji Arai. This is a wonderful international honour given by the Swedish government to writers, or illustrators, or others connected with bringing books to children.

Philip still lives in Oxford, and he writes in a shed at the bottom of his garden.

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Book Info


448 pages


Philip Pullman
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Publication date

16th October 1998




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