Private - Keep Out!

Private - Keep Out!


A forgotten classic brought back into print for the first time in decades - the missing literary sister to Anne of Green Gables and Tracy Beaker, a tough and spirited girl's adventures growing up in a northern post-war mining town.

‘I told our Lucy I’m going to be a writer when I grow up and she said, ‘You should be a good one then. You tell enough lies.’

Psst! We know you shouldn’t really read something labelled ‘private’ but this book is special. It’s written by young girl growing up in a mining town in 1948 who is practising to become a writer when she grows up…possibly. It’s hard work being a writer. There’s no privacy in a house with six kids and there’s no time, especially if you have to go to school and to dancing class (and wear frilly knickers) and Sunday school (and sing about being a sunbeam). You’re supposed to write about what you know, which means this book is about annoying sisters with no sense of humour and brothers who think they know everything, and bullies and chicken spots and being run over. Sometimes you can write about good things that happen, like going to the seaside or Christmas Eve, but mostly the stories end with being sent to bed early in disgrace. But when the writer is a tough, spiky and funny as this one, her adventures will always be worth reading.


  • Private-Keep Out! should rank alongside Just William as an indispensable part of the children’s canon. Alas, and for no better reason that I can discern than the vagaries of chance and/or the misalignment of planets on publication, it has so far failed to find its rightful place. So let me state for the record: the public has been deprived of one of the funniest children’s books ever written
    Lucy Mangan, Bookworm

About the author

Gwen Grant

Gwen Grant was born in 1940 in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and lives there still. When she was twelve years old, she was Highly Commended in a national competition for her essay on the Cocoa Bean - she has written ever since. Her many books for children include Private - Keep Out, its sequels Knock and Wait and One Way Only; The Lily Pickle Band Book and The Revolutionary's Daughter. She is also a published poet.
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