Fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones died March 26 of cancer. Publishers Weekly noted that during her 35-year career she won the British Fantasy Society’s Karl Edward Wagner Award and the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Organization (2007). Also, the movie adaptation of her book Howl’s Moving Castle was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Animated Feature.
Christopher Priest’s tribute in The Guardian begins:
Like many good writers, Diana Wynne Jones, who has died aged 76 of cancer, worked for long years in relative obscurity, in her case sustained as a children’s fantasy author by a modestly sized but devoted young readership. That obscurity provided the freedom to develop her own voice without the distractions of having to build on perceived success. By the time real success found her, in Jones’s case almost by chance, she was a mature writer with a solid and varied body of work that was ready to be appreciated by a much bigger new audience….
Jones’s fiction is relevant, subversive, witty and highly enjoyable, while also having a distinctly dark streak and a constant awareness of how unreliable the real world can seem. Disguises and deceptions abound. Though avoiding criminally dysfunctional families or unwanted pregnancies, her cleverly plotted and amusing adventures deal frankly with emotional clumsiness, parental neglect, jealousy between siblings and a general sense of being an outcast.
[Via Andrew Porter and Dave Langford.]