(1934- ) UK writer, editor and educationist, best-known as a writer for children; he received the Children's Literature Association Award for Criticism in 1978. In his study of children's attitudes to fiction, The Reluctant Reader (1969), AC suggested that up to 60% of children may be interested in reading but are not sufficiently stimulated to sustain the habit; he advocated simpler but more exciting fiction to encourage young readers, and thus developed the Topliners series. AC has a special fascination for Ghost Stories and has compiled a number of collections and Anthologies (see also Ghost Stories for Children), including the Ghosts series: Ghosts (anth 1969) with his wife Nancy Chambers (1936- ), Ghosts 2 (anth 1972), in which seven of the nine stories are by AC, Ghost Carnival (coll 1977), where AC sought to humanize the ghosts, and Ghosts Four (anth 1978) ed as Malcolm Blacklin, which included a high quota of true hauntings; Ghosts 3 (coll 1974) in this series was written by Sam Holroyd. Others were Ghosts That Haunt You (anth 1980), Ghost After Ghost (anth 1982), Shades of Dark (anth 1984), A Quiver of Ghosts (anth 1987) and A Haunt of Ghosts (anth 1987), in which latter five of the 10 stories are by AC.
AC's ghost stories are surprisingly unatmospheric, being presented almost as factual and linking the child protagonist directly with the events. They inspired a short-lived tv series, Ghosts (1980). His interest in true Hauntings resulted in five further books: Haunted Houses (1971), A Book of Ghosts and Hauntings (1973), More Haunted Houses (1973), Great British Ghosts (1974) and Great Ghosts of the World (1974). AC also edited for adults The Tenth Ghost Book (anth 1974) and The Eleventh Ghost Book (anth 1975), both assembled as The Bumper Book of Ghost Stories (omni 1976) (see Ghost Book). [MA]
other works as editor: The sf anthologies World Minus Zero (anth 1971) and In Time to Come (anth 1973), both with Nancy Chambers; Out of Time (anth 1984).