P.L. Travers Books In Order

Publication Order of Mary Poppins Books

Mary Poppins (1934) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Poppins Comes Back (1935) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Poppins Opens the Door (1943) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Poppins in the Park (1952) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Gingerbread Shop (1952) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mr. Wigg's Birthday Party (1952) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Poppins From A-Z (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Poppins in the Kitchen (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane (1982) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mary Poppins and the House Next Door (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

I Go By Sea, I Go By Land (1941) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Fox at the Manger (1962) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Friend Monkey (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
About the Sleeping Beauty (1975) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Two Pairs of Shoes (1976) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Aunt Sass: Christmas Stories (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

What the Bee Knows: Reflections on Myth, Symbol and Story (1989) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

PL Travers was a famous British actress, novelist and journalist. Travers was a determined woman, who had a unique and pleasing personality. Her creative writing skills left a enduring impression on the entire literary world. No doubt, she was a strong-willed character whose life reminds one of the motto “I can”. Travers was a fiercely independent woman, who did not disclose details about herself to all the interviewers. She had the will-power and self-belief, which helped her achieve success and fame. She was hardworking and fearless. Her great qualities enabled her to achieve glory and untold riches in the historically male-dominated literary world. She really is an example of the “rags to riches” story.

She was born on 9 August 1899. Her real name was Helen Lyndon Goff. She was born in Australia, but she later immigrated to England and lived her adult life mostly in England.

Her mother was an Australian and her father was a man of Irish descent. Her father, Travers Robert Goff was a bank manager, who was unsuccessful in his job as he was a heavy drinker. Subsequently, he was demoted to the job of a blank clerk. He died when Travers was 7 years old. After her father’s death, she went to Bowral in New South Wales, along with her family, who were helped by her great aunt. The great aunt was her inspiration for the book Aunt Sass. Travers was called Lyndon in her childhood. During the period of World War I, she boarded at a school in Ashfield (Sydney) named Normanhurst Girls School.

Travers had a very rich fantasy life. She had a vivid imagination. She loved the animals and the fairy tales. Sometimes, she used to call herself a hen. She developed the habit of reading at a very young age. She used to read YB Yeats as her bedtime story. She was a admirer of the author, J.M Barrie, who created the character Peter Pan.

Travers began publishing her poems in Australian periodicals, when she was still a teenager. She improved her writing skills by writing for newspapers and magazines like Triad and “The Bulletin”. She adopted the name of PL Travers (Pamela Lyndon Travers, which was shortened to PL to hide her gender). She had a reputation of being an accomplished actress and dancer. She left for England in 1924, after touring New Zealand and Australia. She joined Allan Wilkie’s Shakespearean Company, as she was a great fan of Allan Wilkie.

In 1925, Travers was fortunate to meet the great poet George William Russell (pen name AE). He was the editor of the newspaper, the Irish Statesman. Impressed by her talent, he published some of Travers’s poems. Russell also introduced her to Yeats, who was instrumental in provoking her interest in mysticism. This interest had profound influence on Travers’s life later.

Around the same time, she started living with Madge Burnand, the daughter of a playwright. They lived together for about 10 years. They moved to a cottage in Sussex in 1932. It was during this period that she began writing her most famous character Mary Poppins. Travers was recovering from pleurisy, when she started writing her most famous work, Mary Poppins.

Travers published her first book Moscow Excursion in 1934. This book was an account of Travers’s visit of Russia in 1932. Travers published her Mary Poppins in 1934. It was her first success in the field of literature. Mary Poppins is a series of 8 books for children which revolve around the story of Mary Poppins, who is a stern but caring English nanny, who uses magic to take care of the children of the Banks family. Mary Poppins is considered to be a bossy, vain and no-nonsense woman. There was something edgy about this famous nanny that caused the children and the adults to be attracted towards her. Mary Poppins is “practically perfect” in every way. She continuously scolds the children for their behaviour. She is a character who exists in almost all the fantasy genre. The entire series was illustrated by Mary Shepard.

In 1936, Travers met mystic George Gurdjieff, with the help of her friend Jessie Orange. Travers studied the Gurdjieff System with the help of Jean Harp, an American publisher. George Gurdjieff had a great influence on several literary figures, including Travers.

She was very depressed after a poet Francis McNamara left her in 1937. She decided to adopt a child. She adopted a boy and named him Camillus. Camillus was the grandson of Yeats’s first biographer. It was during this time that Walt Disney unsuccessfully tried to purchase the rights of Mary Poppins, to make a film, but was rebuffed as Travers did not want Mary Poppins to be turned into an animated cartoon character. During the period of World War II, Travers worked for the UK Ministry of Information and lived in Arizona.

Travers continued to write Mary Poppins books and they were immensely popular. In 1960, she travelled to Sydney during a trip to Japan to study Zen mysticism.

In 1961, Walt Disney was finally able to convince Travers and purchased the rights of her book, Mary Poppins. Travers agreed to sell the rights but made several demands like getting script approval rights. Travers was an adviser to the production. The musical film was a huge success and won many accolades. Travers became immensely wealthy by selling these rights. Travers disliked the adaption so much that she never agreed to another Mary Poppins adoption by Walt Disney again. According to some sources, she wept at the premiere of the film.

The film was a bitter experience in the life of Travers. She did not sell the rights of her Mary Poppins series for many years. Finally, she sold the rights to Cameron Mackintosh for a musical on the condition that only English-born people will be involved in the creative process of the musical and no Americans were to be involved in this process. The musical, which opened in 2004, was a very big hit.

Travers became a writer-in-residence at the Radcliffe College in 1965, Smith College in 1966 and Claremont Colleges in 1970. Travers was awarded a honorary doctorate by the Chatham College in Pittsburgh. In 1977, she became an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. She continued to write Mary Poppins books till 1988. Travers sold all her papers to a library. Her health slowly deteriorated and she died in London, 1996 from a seizure. She died at the age of 96.

Travers’s Mary Poppins occupied a place in the hearts of many children in the world. Her enchanting writing style made all the fictitious details seem real. Her writing style made her readers turn pages with enthusiasm, wondering what adventure and magic lies in the next page. Her books made the children visualize the entire story as if they were actually witnessing the story in front of their own eyes. Travers gave the children in the world a nanny, whose name has now been immortalised.

Book Series In Order » Authors » P.L. Travers