Sue Sims borrowed the two Dimsie omnibuses from a friend’s mother when she was nine and was instantly converted to the genre. She has been trying to acquire every girls’ school story ever written in English since she was 19. She read English at Oxford, where she spent far more time in the Bodleian Library ordering up school stories from the stack than studying Beowulf, Chaucer or Shakespeare. As a PGCE student, her dissertations were on the history of girls’ schools and girls’ school stories, and she has been researching and writing about them for the last fifty years, while earning her living as an English teacher. With Belinda Copson, she founded Folly magazine in 1990 as an outlet for that research (also, admittedly, to enjoy some of the sillier aspects of the genre), and when Rosemary Auchmuty was commissioned by Ashgate to produce The Encyclopaedia of School Stories, she took on, with Hilary Clare and a number of other experts, the task of researching and writing the girls’ school story volume, first published in 2000. She has written numerous articles and papers on girls’ school stories, particularly on Antonia Forest, whose literary executor she is, and currently has well over two thousand girls’ school stories in her Bournemouth house; her husband has become expert at building bookshelves.
The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories (Volume One) by Sue Sims and Hilary Clare is now published. Volume Two will follow in September and Volume Three in November. It would be very helpful if you could order these now.