Belfast Telegraph

Persistence paid off for author

Paddington Bear author Michael Bond has told how he was swamped with rejection slips before he found success with his marmalade-loving creation.

Bond's Paddington books have sold 35 million copies worldwide since they were first published in 1958.

The writer, now 88, found inspiration following a "million-to-one chance", when he was working as a television cameraman and came across a small, solitary bear in the toy department of Selfridges on Christmas Eve.

He told Radio Times: "My first short story, written while I was serving in the Army in Egypt, had been published by London Opinion in 1947 and in the years that followed it's fair to say that, although I was moderately successful, I could have papered the walls of our one-room flat near Holland Park with rejection slips."

After buying the bear and giving it to his wife as a Christmas stocking filler, the soft toy, which he called Paddington after the station, became "part of the family" and Bond's muse.

The author, whose creation has now been turned into a big-screen film starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Bonneville, said: "The thought that it might one day turn into a book never entered my mind. I was writing to please myself ..."

But the writer - who recently expressed surprise at the film getting a PG certificate - added: "After 10 free days from my day job there was no escaping the fact that I had one on my hands."

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