British author Richard Platt was born in Northumberland in 1953. He started writing when aged 27 with how-to articles and books about photography. By 1992 he had begun writing non-fiction books for children, initially collaborating with Stephen Biesty in a successful series that capitalized on the illustrator's facility for cross-sectional drawings. Since then, Richard Platt has gone on to complete some 60 more books for UK publishers Oxford University Press, Kingfisher, Dorling Kindersley and Walker Books (Candlewick Press in the U.S.). Most have been for children and young people, though he also writes books for adults on maritime themes, especially smuggling.
One of Platt's famous books is Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Walker, 2001), a 64-page first-person journal. He won the annual Blue Peter Book Award in category Best Book with Facts and Riddell won the annual Kate Greenaway Medal for children's book illustration, the first "information book" to win since 1975. Platt, Riddell, and Walker had inaugurated the Diary series in 1999 with Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess, Page, which Platt calls it "my first attempt at fiction". Riddell's work was highly commended for the Greenaway Medal and it was a commercial success. Walker markets the 2011 matching set as "nonfiction".
Pirate Diary is the story of an apprentice sailor impressed by pirates to serve as cabin boy. He sees the good, the bad and the ugly, which educates the reader on historical issues of piracy. That is consistent with most of Platt's books, except for the first-person fictionalisation.
Platt continued the series of 64-page first-person journals with Walker and illustrator David Parkins. After Egyptian Diary: The Journal of Nakht (2005) and Roman Diary: The Journal of Iliona of Mytilini, who was captured and sold as a slave in Rome, AD 107 (2009), he calls Roman Diary the "fourth and final book in the Diary series".
Each Diary was published in a U.S. hardcover edition by Candlewick Press within the calendar year.
- "Richard Platt". Gale Biographies of Children's Authors. Answers.com. [Confirmed 2012-07-08]. Reprinted from Something About the Author, Volume 166 (Gale Cengage, 2007) pages 177-181 (2006) ISBN 978-0-7876-8801-1.
- (Greenaway Winner 2005). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
- Press Desk (directory). CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-15. Quote: "media releases relating to the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards in date order." (2002 to 2006 releases concern 2001 to 2005 awards.)
- Richard Platt (website by Richard Platt). For Platt's blurb about a particular book, select "My Work", a subsection such as "Castles", and a cover image. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- Pirate Diary at Walker Books. Retrieved 2012-07-08.
- "Platt, Richard". Library of Congress Authorities. (Select "LC Online Catalog", then the first hit.) Retrieved 2012-07-15.