It’s a bit of a wrench to announce the death of Diana Wynne Jones, because she’s an author I ought to know better. A librarian recommended The Magicians of Caprona to me, and I loved it, but I didn’t realize until adulthood that it was part of a set of books called the Chronicles of Chrestomanci.
I should have found out about her other books, too, because one of the children’s librarians at my home library actually set aside Castle in the Air for me when it was new (even then, I was always at the library looking for fantasy books). But I couldn’t really get into it, possibly because it was a sequel to something I hadn’t read, and I returned it mostly unread.
I started to become aware of the author when that book, Howl’s Moving Castle, was made into a movie. I made a point of going to Chicago to see it during its limited release because it was animated by Studio Ghibli and I knew that meant first-class work. Seeing the movie led to reading the book, which still had plenty of surprises due to the differences between the two.
I eventually got a sense of her large fan base when my dad pointed me to a book blog connected to the British newspaper the Guardian. It started with the statement, “we all love Diana Wynne Jones.” As I looked for online obituaries this morning, I found a few American ones and several from British newspapers as well as several written in foreign languages. Apparently quite a lot of fans read her in translation.
It was amazing to read about her connections to other authors: attending lectures by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, mentoring young Neil Gaiman and writing him into her books. I still have lots of her stories to explore. Do you have a favorite memory of Diana Wynne Jones to share?