One of our favourite writers - Robert Louis Stevenson was born today
I was a small child when I heard a radio production of Treasure Island. The sound of the blind pirate's stick tapping on the foggy road, while Jim hid under a bridge, filled me with terror. Before it was over I was crouched and shivering on the sofa.
Later, I read Kidnapped and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I revelled in the wild flight of Alan and David through the heather, and the ups and downs of their friendship. I was horrified and gripped by the awful psychological, spiritual and physical mystery of Jekyll and Hyde.
Stevenson died at the young age of 44, having written classics that would be read by generations of children. Their effect is so potent I have never forgotten them. Filled with adventure, loss, bravery and horror they were a bracing introduction to the world.
Along with their far-flung exploits and their vivid and sometimes incantatory prose, they gave readers a fixed compass point - speak the truth and do the right thing.