Joan Aiken was born in Rye, Sussex in 1924, daughter of the American poet Conrad Aiken, and started writing herself at the age of five. Since the 1960s she wrote full time and published over 100 books. Best known for her children’s books such as The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Midnight is a Place, she also wrote extensively for adults and published many contemporary and historical novels, including sequels to novels by Jane Austen. In 1968 she won the Guardian Children’s book prize for Whispering Mountain, followed by an Edgar Allan Poe award for Night Fall in 1972, and was awarded an MBE for her services to children’s literature in 1999. Joan Aiken died in 2004.