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Joan Aiken (Joan Delano Aiken) Biography

(1924–2004), (Joan Delano Aiken), All You've Ever Wanted, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

British writer, the daughter of Conrad Aiken, born in Rye, Sussex. She is best known for her highly imaginative stories for young children in All You've Ever Wanted (1953) and many subsequent volumes. Her sharp sense of fantasy made her tales remarkably unpredictable. Among her novels for older children were The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (1962) and its sequels, set in an alternative eighteenth-century England; notable among these was the novel Is (1992), which advanced the series to a darkly imagined nineteenth century. Works such as her novels Midnight is a Place (1974) and The Shadow Guests (1980), and the stories collected in A Small Pinch of Weather (1969) and A Bundle of Nerves (1976) are also darker in tone. These bear a close resemblance to the occasionally savage adult tales in The Windscreen Weepers (1969). Aiken published a series of detective novels in the 1960s, including Trouble with Product X (1966) and Hate Begins at Home (1967). Historical novels such as The Lightning Tree (1980) and Mansfield Revisited (1984), which is a continuation of the Jane Austen novel, tended towards black comedy. The Haunting of Lamb House (1991), set in Rye, is a ghost story.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: 110A Piccadilly to Nelson Algren Biography