Alan Alexander Milne was born in London on January 18, 1882, the third and youngest son of a schoolmaster. At age eleven, he won a scholarship to the Westminster School. He went on to attend Cambridge University and became the editor of the undergraduate paper, Granta. After graduating from Cambridge in 1903, Milne moved back to London with enough savings to live for one year. He was determined to become a writer. By 1906, he had been offered the position of Assistant Editor at Punch, a classic British humor magazine. He remained at Punch for the next eight years.
In 1913, Milne married Dorothy de Selincourt (known as Daphne) and moved to a house in London's Chelsea section. When World War I broke out, he enlisted in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, eventually serving in France. During his training period, he wrote his first play, Wurzel-Flummery, which was produced in London in 1917.
By 1919, having completed one book and several plays, Milne finally achieved financial independence. His play, Mr. Pim Passes By, previously staged in London, was produced by the Theatre Guild in New York City. It was as great a success there as it had been on the London stage. Milne was now well established as a witty and fashionable London playwright. In 1920, Christopher Robin Milne was born, an event that was to change the history of children's literature. In 1923, during a rainy holiday in Wales, Milne began work on a collection of verses for children. The result was When We Were Very Young, published in 1924.
Demand for Milne's whimsical work was overwhelming, and in 1926, he duplicated his earlier success with the publication of Winnie-the-Pooh. The sequel, The House at Pooh Corner, followed in 1927. Now We Are Six, another charming collection of verse, followed one year later. It was through these four books, all illustrated by the wonderfully talented Ernest H. Shepard, that Milne acquired a vast audience outside of the theater. In the years since their initial publication, interest in these books has grown and grown.
Milne continued to be a prolific essayist, novelist, and poet until his death in 1956.