(1939-2016) UK poet and novelist, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and past winner of the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Hawthornden Prize and other awards. His novels are principally historical, centred on actual or legendary individuals, and include such titles as Falstaff (1976) and The Life and Death of My Lord Gilles de Rais (1990). Of greatest fantasy interest are Merlin (1978) and Faust (1980) – bawdy, scatological, richly told, sometimes anachronistic reworkings of the traditional material (> Merlin; Faust). Some of RN's short stories – gathered in Tales I Told My Mother (coll 1969) and The Facts of Life and Other Fictions (coll 1983) – are fantastic. He wrote many juvenile fantasies; these include Taliesin (1966), Bee Hunter: Adventures of Beowulf (1968; vt Beowulf: A New Telling US), Wishing Gold (1970) – these three are assembled as Three Tales (omni 1983) – Poor Pumpkin (coll 1971; vt The Mathematical Princess and Other Stories US), Out of the World and Back Again (coll 1977) and The Bird of the Golden Land (1980). [DP]
other works: Cricket: Three Stories (coll 1975 chap US), retold traditional tales.