It is with great sadness that I read of the death yesterday, 26th March 2011, of the great children’s author, Diana Wynne Jones, following a long fight with cancer. Diana has always remained one of my favourite writers. As I child, I read her books over and over again. One in particular – The Ogre Downstairs – was one of my all-time favourites. First published in 1979, I still have my much-loved and very battered copy; when I read it again recently, I was heartened to see that it had lost none of its special magic.
Diana’s book were full of her wonderful sense of humour. She had the ability to see the world exactly as a child would, with all its excitement and breathless energy, the unfairness of sibling rivalry and the irritations of adult interference. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, featuring Christopher Chant, were a potent precursor to the modern-day Harry Potter, with magic and intrigue, powerful evil forces and predetermined destinies.
I knew that Diana had been ill for some time, so although her death comes as no great surprise, it is no less of a shock and a great sadness.
The Sunday Times wrote an excellent obituary in her memory today: you can read it at The Sunday Times.
May she rest in peace.