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Joan Aiken was born in Sussex in 1924. She was the daughter of the American poet, Conrad Aiken; her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge, is also a novelist. Before joining the 'family business' herself, Joan had a variety of jobs, including working for the BBC, the United Nations Information Centre and then as features editor for a short story magazine. Her first children's novel, The Kingdom of the Cave, was published in 1960.

Joan Aiken wrote over a hundred books for young readers and adults and is recognized as one of the classic authors of the twentieth century. Amanda Craig, writing in The Times, said, 'She was a consummate story-teller, one that each generation discovers anew.' Her best-known books are those in the James III saga, of which The Wolves of Willoughby Chase was the first title, published in l962 and awarded the Lewis Carroll prize. Both that and Black Hearts in Battersea have been filmed. Her books are internationally acclaimed and she received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the United States as well as the Guardian Award for Fiction in this country for The Whispering Mountain.

Joan Aiken was decorated with an MBE for her services to children's books. She died in 2004.

Books by Joan Aiken

The Whispering Mountain (Prequel To The Wolves Chronicles Series)
The Whispering Mountain
The Song Of Mat And Ben
A Foot in the Grave
Mansfield Revisited
Go Saddle The Sea
The Teeth of the Gale
Bridle The Wind
Lady Catherine's Necklace
Black Hearts in Battersea
The Kingdom Under the Sea
The Witch of Clatteringshaws
Cold Shoulder Road
A Necklace Of Raindrops
Midwinter Nightingale
The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase
In Thunder's Pocket
Limbo Lodge
The Cuckoo Tree
Dido And Pa
Night Birds On Nantucket
The Stolen Lake