The Merlin Room

About the Author - Margaret Mann

About the Illustrator - Jennifer Baker

About the series

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Margaret Mann

Margaret Mann

Margaret Elizabeth Bateson (1920-2010)

Margaret was born on 9 June 1920. The daughter of a country parson, she had a happy childhood in Somerset. From there she went on to study social sciences at Bristol University.

Margaret slid away from Christian orthodoxy, but one day in the early sixties she read a review in the TLS of Teilhard de Chardin's The Phenomenon of Man. She was so excited that she ran all the way to the nearest bookshop to place an order. Although well-read, it was the works of Teilhard that restored her faith and changed her life.

She continually retained a fascination for science, and for myth and legend, especially the Arthurian stories. Her own 'round table' of literary and theological figures included William Blake (as Merlin), Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oliver Lodge, Paul Tillich, Charles Williams and Teilhard as Sir Galahad.

She always wanted to write (her sister, Rachel, wrote poetry) but her first attempt, "The Dream of Iola", got nowhere. Much later, after reading all of Teilhard's books (she had first editions of most of them), and after visits to Ireland, loving contact with grandchildren and the gift of a computer from her son in Hong Kong, a new start was made in Bath. At 80, Margaret published her first book, The Merlin Set-Up, which features time travel adventures to Roman, Medieval, and Victorian Bath. With a wealth of historical colour, and heavily influenced by Teilhard's writings, the book seeks to make Christianity and spiritual matters relevant to modern teenagers.

She wrote another four books in this series in the last decade of her life: Under the Merlin Spell, Merlin's Island, Merlin in Cyberland (dedicated to Teilhard on the 50th anniversary of his death) and Moving On with the Merlinauts.

Margaret was an enthusiastic member of the British Teilhard Association since its inception in 1963 and will be remembered as an attendee of many of its annual conferences.

Margaret died peacefully on 3 January 2010 surrounded by her family. She was always young at heart. Some time before, she had been in a taxi on her way to a medical appointment when her driver became engaged in an argument with another driver. 'Look", he said, "I've got an old lady in the back". "Where?" said Margaret, looking around in surprise.


80th birthdayMargaret Mann in the CircusMerlin's IslandSpring outfit


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