Author(s): Simon Pollard
In July 1942 with a notebook and pencil he had bought from a German guard, Dudley Muff started Alison's Book. Dudley was 42 and a prisoner of war in Stalag XVIIIB in Germany and his niece Alison was four and living in Timaru. With humorous entries, sketches and what he called "little men" his story grew until it became an unbelievable account of his time served in two prisoner-of-war camps. Given to Alison when he returned to Christchurch after the war, she read it first as a child, purely for the excitement such a story could impart. Only later, rereading this as an adult, did she see through the veiled references to how life really was in the camps. After returning to Christchurch, Dudley added a one page postscript describing his journey to freedom. He finished the book with, "Now I shall tell you in three little words what all my travels have taught me, NEVER BE AFRAID. With all the love in the world from Uncle Dudley". Winner LIANZA Elsie Locke Award for Non Fiction 2010. Storylines Notable Non-Fiction 2010.
Shortlisted for New Zealand Post Children's Book Award: Non-Fiction Award 2010 and Storylines Notable New Zealand Books: Non Fiction 2010.
Dr Simon Pollard is the Curator of Invertebrate Zoology at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch. He is a spider biologist, natural history writer, photographer and author. Alison's Book is written by his great uncle, Dudley Roberts Muff. Simon often wondered what had become of his great uncle's diary and by a lucky coincidence while visiting his brother in London he came across a newspaper clipping saying that Dudley had donated the diary to Canterbury Museum. Again, through either luck or coincidence, Canterbury Museum is where Simon has worked since 1997.Through the Museum database Simon was able to track down the archival box that had been the resting place of the original diary for many years.