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David Pickering graduated in English from St Peter's College, Oxford. An experienced writer, editor and illustrator, he has compiled or contributed to well over 200 reference books, mostly in the areas of the arts, English language, history, folklore, entertainment and popular interest. As author, these have included a Dictionary of Theatre (1988), an Encyclopedia of Pantomime (1993), a Dictionary of Superstitions (1995), a Dictionary of Witchcraft (1996), a Dictionary of First Names (Penguin, 1999, 2004), Sports Quotations (2000), a Dictionary of Proverbs (2001), a Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases (2001), the Pears Factfinder (Penguin, 2002), a Dictionary of Saints (2004), Pirates (2006), Jokes (Penguin, 2006), Perfect Pub Quiz (2007), Ancient Rome (2007), Buttering Parsnips Twocking Chavs (2007) and a Dictionary of Allusions (2008). He has broadcast many times on radio and television and lives in Buckingham with his wife and two sons.