Swallows and Amazons is the first book in the Swallows and Amazons series of novels by English author Arthur Ransome.
It was first published in 1930, but was set in the summer of 1929 in the English Lake District. The book introduces the characters of John, Susan, Titty and Roger Walker (Swallows) and their mother and baby sister, as well as Nancy and Peggy Blackett (Amazons) and their uncle Jim (nicknamed Captain Flint).
Swallows and Amazons was inspired by Arthur Ransome spending a summer teaching the children of his friends, the Altounyans, to sail. Three of the Altounyan children’s names are adopted directly for the Walker family. Ransome and Ernest Altounyan bought two small dinghies called Swallow and Mavis. Ransome kept Swallow until he sold it a number of years later (it has since been lost), while Mavis remained in the Altounyan family and is now on permanent display in the Ruskin Museum.
Most of the boats in the series were based on those either owned or known by Ransome, and all the individual locations are real places. A few of the boats survive in private ownership, of which one is known to be accessible to the public: the original Nancy Blackett. The Swallow and Amazon dinghies that were created for the 1974 Swallows and Amazons film are currently under restoration. The new Swallow and Amazon that were created for the 2016 Swallows and Amazons film are on display in the Windermere Jetty Museum.
Swallows and Amazons and the other books in the series have been widely translated, with some also having been adapted for film, television, radio and the theatre.
Find out more
- The Boats, including Nancy Blackett, Swallow and Amazon.
- The Books
- Swallows and Amazons on film, TV, radio and in theatres
- Swallows and Amazons pages on Wikipedia
- Join or support Arthur Ransome-related charities and organisations