John Foster

children's poet

About John Foster

A Short Biography

I was born in 1941 and grew up in a village outside Carlisle called Scotby. We didn't have a TV, so I read a lot. My favourite stories were about a superhero called Wilson in a comic called The Wizard. My favourite poem was the one about Albert who was eaten by a lion at Blackpool zoo, which my father would recite to me.

I went to a boarding school called Denstone College on top of a hill in Staffordshire and then to Oxford University. I always wanted to be a writer and I was sports editor of the university newspaper and wrote football reports on university matches for The Times.

After university, I became a teacher and taught English for twenty years in schools in Oxfordshire, before becoming a full-time writer.

The first books I wrote were school textbooks! But I've always enjoyed poetry and when I was given the opportunity to compile a series of children's poetry books I jumped at the chance. That was in 1979 and I've been compiling poetry anthologies ever since. I've lost count of how many, but it must be somewhere between 150 and 200. I've also written twelve books of my own poetry.

Since giving up teaching, I've visited lots of schools and libraries to perform my poems and have performed at the Cheltenham Festival, the Edinburgh Festival and the Oxford Literary Festival.

Today, I live in an Oxfordshire village with my wife Chris. In addition to writing poems and editing poetry, I also spend my time writing textbooks and information books. I've just finished a book about the Olympic Games. I've two grown-up sons, Ian and Simon and two grandchildren, Evie, who is at college doing her A levels, and Louis who is in year 6.