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P.L. Travers
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    (August 9, 1899-April 23, 1996)
    Born in Mayborough, Queensland, Australia
    Birth name was Helen Lyndon Goff
    P.L. stood for Pamela Lyndon
    Wrote 'Mary Poppins' (1934) and seven sequels
    She shaved seven years off her age, claiming to have been born in 1906.
    She complained, 'As a writer you can feel awfully imprisoned, because people, having had so much of one thing, want you to always go on doing more of the same.'
    In one chapter of 'Mary Poppins,' a black character is referred to as a 'pickaninny' and offers everyone watermelon.
    Her later Mary Poppins books were increasingly influenced by her interest in spiritualism and the occult.
    She complained that the Walt Disney film of Mary Poppins made the character too sweet.
    When she was seven, her father died from alcoholism and when she was ten, her mother announced she was going to commit suicide and told Travers she was in charge of her two younger sisters. (The mother did not follow through on the threat and came back to the family.)
    She toured Australia as an actress in a Shakespearean company.
    She made a living as a poet, journalist and critic before writing Mary Poppins.
    Fans of the Mary Poppins books include T.S. Eliot, Sylvia Plath and Princess Margaret.
    A friend who hated children's books wrote to her, 'Mary Poppins with her cool green core of sex has me enthralled forever.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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