Diana Wynne Jones Biography


Diana Wynne Jones was born on August 16, 1934, in London, England. Her philosophy of writing for young people developed from the unpleasantness of her childhood. Besides being displaced several times after 1939 because of the onset of World War II, Jones was forced to endure parental neglect. By 1943, when her parents settled in rural Essex to manage a conference/ cultural center, they chose to reside apart from their three daughters. The girls were housed in an uncomfortable two-room hut and often had to go without reading because their father refused to supply enough books. Jones turned to writing her own stories.

After she was married to university professor John Burrow, Jones took up writing because she could not find enough good children's books for their three sons. As a graduate of St. Anne's College, Oxford, she retained strong impressions of the fantasy writers C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, who taught there. Deciding that realistic writing could be painful to read, she concluded that writing fantasy was the best way to provide the kind of books she herself was deprived of as a child. She wanted books to be highly imaginative and humorous, as well as to help young readers cope with their own problems, including difficult adults.

Jones has published adult novels (Changeover, 1970; A Sudden Wild Magic, 1992) but has concentrated primarily on the younger reader since her first children's book appeared in 1973. Besides...

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Diana Wynne Jones was born in London, England, in 1934, the daughter of educators. She has written that her relationship with her parents was a troubled one: They were dedicated to their careers, and Diana and her two sisters received little support or encouragement from them.

Growing up during World War II was also difficult for Jones, who was intermittently sent out of London to avoid the bombings, but who nonetheless developed a keen sense of the dangers of war. Jones wrote, "When the siren sounded at night, we went to the ground floor where we sat and listened to the blunt bang and sharp yammer of gunfire and bombs whistle as they fell, or watched searchlights rhythmically ruling lines in the sky." She recalls that amid all that, her grandmother provided a welcome relief from the worries of the war and from her alienating home life. "Granny was truly marvelous, five feet of Yorkshire common sense, love, and superstition."

Jones realized at the age of eight that she wanted to be a writer. Although she "suffered from perpetual book starvation," she read as many books as she could find, and by the time she was fourteen she had written two books of her own. In 1956 she received her bachelor's degree from St. Anne's College at Oxford, where she had attended lectures by authors C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien. Later that year she married John Burrow, with whom she had three sons.

It was after the birth of her sons that Jones...

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Diana Wynne Jones was born on August 16, 1934, in London, England, to parents who were both educators. Twenty-two years later, in 1956, she received a Bachelor's degree from St. Anne's College, Oxford and married John A. Burrow, a university professor. Jones began writing as a child so that she and her sisters would have interesting, exciting, and entertaining material to read; this resourceful and inventive attitude towards literature and its production is still evident in her work today. Indeed, the importance of the family and its relationships is a central concern in early works like The Ogre Downstairs and Eight Days of Luke, both of which examine from a child's perspective dysfunctional familial environments.

Very little information is available about Jones. She translates the raw material and curious perspectives garnered from her experience as homemaker into her fiction, which has as its hallmark the same profuse vitality and comic interaction as the life she apparently leads. In fact, Jones's fresh and unconventional attitude is encapsulated in one of her more telling comments about her writing: She says that her greatest challenge in writing for youth is to make everything simple enough for adults to grasp. A good motto for this singular author would clearly be, "Expect the unexpected."

Gifted with an inventive mind, a quirkily perceptive eye, and a sharp ear for the quips, barbs, and puns which delight the young of all...

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Diana Wynne Jones was born on August 16, 1934, in London, England. Her parents, who were educators, devoted themselves to their work rather than to their three daughters. For some reason, the girls' father was reluctant to spend money on books for his children. As a result, Diana took it upon herself to write the stories that she and her younger sisters craved. She created two long, elaborate tales to read aloud to her sisters. Later, Jones said that this early practice helped instill the confidence to be a novelist, because "you must know you can finish a book."

For long years after her adolescence, Jones did not write any fiction. She got a university degree (from St Ann's College, Oxford), married, and had three sons. She wanted her sons to have the good books she had missed out on, but she found that there were not too many books available at that time that had the humorous, unpredictable spirit her sons liked best. So she began to write her own books. In 1973 she published her first children's book, Wilkins' Tooth, published a year later in the U.S. as Witch's Business. And she was off and running. A prolific author who never seems to lack for inspiration, Jones has sometimes published two or more books a year. Her novels have won many awards, including England's Guardian Award for Charmed Life.

Unlike many writers who develop one type or pattern of book and continue to write in the same vein, Jones has created...

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Diana Wynne Jones was born on August 16,1934, in London, England. She had an unusual and unstable childhood that greatly influenced her writing career. When Jones was five, her parents undertook the first of several dislocations because of the outbreak of World War II. She spent some months with her grandparents in Wales. They spoke in rolling paragraphs and syllables that Jones could not understand. She noted later that these sounds remained to flow like music in her mind while she wrote.

By 1943 Jones resided in a rural Essex village, where her parents managed a young adult conference/cultural center and school. The parents deliberately resided in the main residence apart from Jones and her two younger sisters, whom...

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