Philip Womack

Children's writer, Short-story writer, Non-fiction writer
Royal College of Music

Philip Womack is a critically acclaimed author of children’s fiction infused with myths and legends. He is interested in how these archetypes underpin literature, and in the boundaries between children’s and adult fiction.

His first novel, The Other Book (Bloomsbury, 2008), used the tale of Merlin and Vivien as the basis for a dark, gripping narrative involving magic, stories and inheritance. His second, The Liberators (Bloomsbury, 2010), transplanted the more sinister aspects of the god Bacchus into a modern-day London still reeling from the financial crash. A trilogy followed, The Darkening Path (Troika, 2014–16). Based, like Alan Garner’s Elidor, on the legend of Childe Roland, it was a fantasy quest about a boy’s search for his missing sister.

The Double Axe (Alma, 2016) reimagined the Minotaur from the point of view of his brother. It was a Telegraph Children’s Book of the Year. The Arrow of Apollo (Unbound, 2020), examined the point where myths end: what happens to the children of the heroes?

His nonfiction book for adults, How to Teach Classics to Your Dog (Oneworld, 2020), is a light-hearted account of everything from Homer to Roman history. He has also published short stories; produced a screenplay, based on Shakespeare; and much literary (and other) journalism for many magazines and papers like Literary Review and the Times Literary Supplement, including a piece about pyjamas for Tatler.

Philip was a Fellow of First Story, and taught Creative Writing and Children’s Literature at Royal Holloway and City University.

Philip Womack
Image credit: Tatiana Von Preussen

Fellowships

Royal College of Music 2020/21