Philip Pullman wrote the His Dark Materials trilogy in a 12ft by 8ft wooden shed in his back garden in Oxford and was so closely associated with it that in The Independent newspaper’s ‘You Ask The Questions’ column sent in by readers, one question was ‘what are the defining qualities of a truly great shed?’ to which he replied that the important quality for him was simply that it wasn't in the house, and that it was a warm, quiet and comfortable place. This shed, now passed on to illustrator Ted Dewan on the understanding that only creative work is to be undertaken in it by himself or by future users, had an intriguing interior décor. Alongside many books sat a stuffed rat, a saxophone and guitar, masks, posters, children’s drawings, dozens of artificial flowers, a cobblestone from Prague, and a bit of Mont Blanc. Pullman, who described it as “an abominable tip” was superstitious about tidying it up and never did so during the course of writing a book.
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