P. L. Travers
Pamela Lyndon Travers ( August 9, 1899 – April 23, 1996), real name Helen Lyndon Goff was an English writer, primarily known as the author of the Mary Poppins series of children’s books and Christmas Stories.
She began writing as a child – she wrote stories and plays for school plays, and entertained her siblings with magical stories. Her poems were published when she was not even twenty years old.
At first she tried the stage (Pamela is a stage name), acting exclusively in Shakespeare’s plays, but then her passion for literature won out and she devoted herself to literature, publishing her works under the pseudonym “P. L. Travers” (the first two initials were used to hide the female name).
In 1925, in Ireland, Travers met the mystic poet George William Russell, who had a great influence on her, both as a person and as a writer. He was then editor of The Irish Statesman and accepted several of her poems for publication. Through Russell, Travers met William Butler Yeats and other Irish poets who instilled in her an interest in and knowledge of world mythology. Yates was not only an accomplished poet, but also a notable occultist. This is the direction that Pamela Travers would take until the last days of her life.
In 1934, the publication of Mary Poppins was Travers’ first literary success. A sequel to the book followed, as well as novels, poetry collections, and nonfiction works. Disney’s movie Mary Poppins was released in 1964 (the lead role, Mary Poppins, was played by actress Julie Andrews). The movie was nominated for an Oscar in 13 nominations and won five awards.
In her life she distinguished herself by trying not to advertise the facts of her personal life, including her Australian origins.
“If you are interested in the facts of my biography,” Travers once said, “the story of my life is contained in ‘Mary Poppins’ and my other books.”
Although she never married, she adopted a boy shortly before her 40th birthday. In 1977, Travers became a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.