John Rowe Townsend (born 1922) is a British children's author and academic. His best-known children's novel is The Intruder, which won a 1971 Edgar Award, and his best-known academic work is Written for Children: An Outline of English Language Children's Literature (1965), the definitive work of its time on the subject.
He was born in Leeds, and studied at Leeds Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. Among his popular works are Gumble's Yard (his debut novel, published in 1961), Widdershins Crescent (1965), and The Intruder (1969), which won a 1971 Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Juvenile Mystery. In Britain, The Intruder was made into a children's TV series starring Milton Johns as the stranger. Noah's Castle was filmed by Southern television and transmitted in seven 25-minute episodes in 1980.