British writer A.A. Milne was born in London, England, on January 18, 1882. His best known works are his two sets of children’s poetry, When We Were Young and Now We Are Six, and his two books of stories concerning the lovable bear Winnie the Pooh and his animal pals. Milne expired on January 31, 1956.
Milne was educated at Westminster School in London and in the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College. While at Cambridge, he studied math as well as edited and wrote for the student magazine Granta. Recognizing that writing was his true occupation, he moved to London after his graduation in 1903. He started composing for the literary magazine Punch in 1906, and his essays and funny poetry were printed in the magazine through 1914. He was discharged in 1919 and settled in London together with his own wife, Dorothy “Daphne” de Slincourt (whom he’d wed in 1913). Their son, Christopher Robin, came to be in 1920.
During his military service, Milne had composed his first play, a one-act farce labeled Wurzel-Flummery. Following the war, he attained success as a playwright. He also composed a detective novel titled The Red House Mystery, printed in 1922.
In 1924, Milne used his longtime gift for light poetry into a collection of children’s poems titled When We Were Very Young. This publication contained poems including “Buckingham Palace” and “Halfway Down,” which were inspired by his 4-year old son’s pastimes. In 1927, Milne wrote another volume of poetry for young readers, titled Now We Are Six.
Milne’s best and bearing successes, however, were his novels Winnie the Pooh (1926) and The House at Pooh Corner (1928). Both of these volumes told the experiences of a young boy named Christopher Robin, after Milne’s own son (Christopher Robin Milne), and his creature playmates, who have been inspired by the real Christopher Robin’s stuffed toys. A bear named Winnie the Pooh was the principal character, accompanied by fussy Bunny, glum donkey Eeyore, bouncy tiger Tigger, type kangaroo Kanga and her infant Roo, shrewd Owl and self-conscious Piglet.
The experiences of Pooh and his pals in the Hundred Acre Wood, illustrated by artist Ernest H. Shepard, were all bestsellers and made Milne a household name. In the 1930s and ’40s, A.A. Milne returned to writing for adults, printing novels, short story collections and a nonfiction, anti-war novel entitled Peace with Honour. He wrote his autobiography, It Is Too Late Now, in 1939. Milne endured from sickness in the early 1950s and died at his house in Hartfield, East Sussex, England, on January 31, 1956.