Monday, January 30, 2012

Who was Rosalie K. Fry?

I’ve wanted to write a blog post on Ms. Fry, the author of the achingly beautiful story The Secret of Roan Inish ever since I realized that the lovely film was based on a book.  Try Googling her, though, and nothing comes up but the titles of her books.  For some odd reason the University of Southern Mississippi has her “papers” and their website condenses her biographical facts into two short sentences: “Rosalie K. Fry was born in Vancouver, Canada, and lived as an adult in England and Wales. She attended school in Wales and in London at the Central School of Arts.”

The Wales thing and the art school thing explain a lot but only through inference.  I thought perhaps purchasing a collection of her books might shed some light but some of those little gems are pricey and I ended up with only two, A Bell for Ringblume and Snowed Up.  I haven’t read them yet – three time-heavy non-fiction projects got in the way; plus I’d like to purchase more before jumping headfirst into Fry’s world – but the back cover of Ringblume, copyrighted 1957, offers some interesting info:

“This author was born on Vancouver Island.  She makes her home in Swansea, South Wales.  During World War II she was stationed in the Orkney Islands, where she was employed as a Cypher Officer in the Women’s Royal Service.  She has written many stories and executed many drawings for a variety of children’s magazines in Great Britain.  She is also known as a maker of children’s toys.  Her books, which she has also illustrated, have included: Bumblebuzz; Lady Bug! Lady Bug!; Bandy Boy’s Treasure Island; Pipkin Sees the World; Cinderella’s Mouse and other Fairy Tales; and The Wind Call.”

My non-fiction young adult book, published last year, features heroic WWII women so when I read of Fry's wartime work I immediately gave a hearty huzzah for her. Like so many other women of the time, she obviously put her immediate endeavors on hold indefinitely in order to do battle with Fascism.

Also interesting is that some of these books listed on the back of Ringblume are not included in the official box of “papers.” What happened to them?  I will have to wait another day to find out because though my interest in Ms. Fry has not diminished, additional non-fiction projects have found their way to my plate so it will be a while before I can return to my search for the person who set aside the creation of lovely worlds in order to decode for king and country.,rosalie.htm