Diana Wynne Jones had a childhood that influenced her decision to write fantasy. She was born on August 16, 1934, in London, England. Her parents, educators Richard and Marjorie Jackson Aneurin, began relocating her at the outbreak of World War II. To five-year-old Jones, it seemed that the world had gone mad. She was puzzled by the language spoken by her Welsh grandparents, with whom she stayed for months.
In one house her family occupied, Jones erased some papers in an attic and was surprised when she was punished. She had innocently destroyed drawings by the artist John Ruskin. The dwarf Ruskin in Year of the Griffin may be named for the incident.
By 1943, Jones's parents settled in rural Essex to manage a kind of conference center and school. The nearby villagers seemed strange to Jones. In addition, her parents stayed in separate quarters. They neglectfully housed Jones and her two younger sisters in an uncomfortable hut. The three sisters, all avid readers, went book-hungry. Their father kept Ransome books locked away and gave them only one a year. Jones started writing herself, and by her early teens she entertained her sisters with her stories.
In 1953, Jones went to St. Anne's College, Oxford. There she attended lectures by fantasy writers C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, who inspired her. In 1956, she married English professor John Burrow and in time resided in Bristol, which she thought was a fantasy city. Jones...
(The entire section is 445 words.)