As a child
Allan was born in Croydon, but grew up in Oldbury in the Black Country. He says that if he hadn’t grown up to be a writer, he would have loved to have been a soccer player.
As an adult
Allan always dreamed of being a writer, but tried his hand at many other jobs before he achieved his ambition. He was a postman, grave-digger, plumber’s mate and teacher – it was teaching that gave him such sharp insights into the minds of children, and enabled him to write his perfectly observed poetry about primary school life
As an artist
Allan has collaborated with many illustrators, including Bruce Ingman, André Amstutz, Gillian Tyler and Katharine McEwen, as well as his late wife, Janet Ahlberg (nee Hall) and his daughter Jessica Ahlberg. He has won numerous awards for his books including, the Kurt Maschler Award in 1986, The Children’s Book Award in 1987, the Blue Peter Book Award 2001, and The Children’s Book Award: Books for Young Children award 2002.