Biography

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 369

Lynne Reid Banks, an English writer, was born in 1929, the daughter of a Scottish doctor and an Irish actress. Her richly varied life has included a stay in Canada during World War II, studies at the Queen's Secretarial College in London as well as at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, several years working as an actress, three years as a television news reporter and scriptwriter, nine years living (and working as a high school English teacher) on a Kibbutz in Israel with her husband, sculptor Chaim Stephenson (they have three sons), and (back in London) a continuing career as a writer of adult and children's books. Lynn Reid Banks has written more than thirty plays and books, fiction and nonfiction, for young and old. In America, her best-known work is probably The Indian in the Cupboard (1982), written for children. Like Melusine, The Indian in the Cupboard and its sequels, Return of the Indian (1986), and The Secret of the Indian (1989) combine fantasy and serious social and psychological issues. Banks has also written an award-winning study of the Brontes, whose childhood love for half-realistic, half-fantastical worlds is like Banks's own.

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Although she enjoys writing (despite the fact that it is often "the hardest, loneliest work in the world"), Lynn Reid Banks also appreciates the rich life she has lived and has worked much of it into her novels. "Nothing one ever experiences or feels is wasted," she has written. "Even the bad things, the negative emotions, that most people try to push away and forget: anger, bitterness, humiliation, failure, shock, grief . . . one day you may need [each such emotion]. Not to write it down just as it happened to you . . . but to transmute it into the stuff of fiction, to feed it into your characters so that what moved you can move them, and in the end, move the readers."

A self-described "practicing atheist," Banks says that she believes not in God, but in "the potential of human beings." Her writings are filled with strong moral purpose, and a book like Melusine is clearly directed at making its readers more keenly aware of their human potential—especially for greater sensitivity regarding the delicate and frequently hurt filled world around them.

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