Humphrey Carpenter was born and educated in Oxford and worked as a broadcaster for the BBC before becoming a full-time writer in 1975. He wrote many award-winning biographies, including J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, W. H. Auden, Benjamin Britten, Spike Milligan and others. He also co-wrote The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature with his wife, Mari Prichard. His highly popular Mr Majeika series was successfully adapted for television. From 1994 to 1996 he directed the Cheltenham Festival of Literature and for many years ran a young people's drama group, The Mushy Pea Theatre Company. Humphrey Carpenter died in 2005.