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Bryan Forbes (1926- ) was born in Stratford, London, and was educated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (though he did not complete his course there). He became a film director, whose films included Whistle Down the Wind, The L-Shaped Room, The Railway Children and The Go-Between, as well as International Velvet, which starred his wife Nanette Newman, and Tatum O’Neal. As well as the novelisation of the film, Bryan Forbes has written other novels, and autobiography and biography, most notably Ned’s Girl, the biography of Dame Edith Evans.


International Velvet is a spin off from Enid Bagnold’s National Velvet; with a plot only possible as it took liberties with the original book: Velvet’s Grand National winning horse, The Pie, is a gelding. In International Velvet, he has been magically restored, and is the father of the horse the now grown up Velvet’s niece, Sarah, rides to Olympic glory. The film, despite this, has remained popular. And moving. The last time I watched it was during a prolonged de-tangle of my daughter’s hair. We had International Velvet on to distract us both, and I wept (and it wasn’t just over the state of my daughter’s hair.)


Finding the book: hardback editions can be a little more tricky to find than the paperbacks (which are still very widely available) but they are not particularly expensive.


Sources and links:

Enid Bagnold and National Velvet

Biographical information on Bryan Forbes

Biographical information in International Velvet

International Velvet - the Film


Bryan Forbes


International Velvet

William Heinemann Ltd, 1978, 160 pp.

Pan Books Ltd, London, 1978, 160 pp. (left)

Book Club Association, 1978

Nelson Doubleday, New York, 1978 (hb)

Bantam Books, New York, 1978 (pb)

Piccolo, London, 1985, pb, 159 pp.

Mammoth, London, 1993, pb, 159 pp.


Velvet Brown has grown up, and her American niece
Sarah has come to live with her. Velvet’s horse, The Pie,
has had a son. Sarah rides the horse, and develops an
ambition to ride for Britain and win Olympic gold.

Bibliography - pony books only