Joan Aiken was one of the best-known and most-loved English writers. She was known for her supernatural thrillers and charmingly weird books for kids. For her work in children’s literature, she was given the prestigious title of Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). She was also given the Edgar Allan Poe Award and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. Joan Aiken was born to the British writer Conrad Aiken, and she has been good at telling stories ever since she was a child. After she finished her schooling, she started writing books for kids and stories for adults at a young age. During her life, she wrote about magic, fantasy, adventure, and thrillers, among other things. She wrote almost 92 books in all, including 27 books for adults. She also wrote plays, short stories, and poems. The Wolves of the Willoughby Chase, her most famous classic, went on to become the best work she ever did. After the book did really well, she wrote a series under the same name.
Early years and childhood
Joan Aiken was born Joan Delano Aiken on September 4, 1924, in Mermaid Street, Rye, East Sussex, to Conrad Aiken and Jessie MacDonald. She was the couple’s third child and their second daughter.
Her father was a well-known poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in the United States. Her mother had a Master’s degree from Radcliffe College. Her older brother and sister were also both writers.
In 1929, her parents split up. After they broke up, her mom married an English writer named Martin Armstrong, and her dad got married twice. Aiken and her siblings stayed with their mother when they were young.
Her mother taught her to read, write, and do math until she was twelve years old. From 1936 to 1940, she went to Oxford to study at Wychwood School for Girls. She did not sign up for college.
Joan Aiken’s Career
With her parents and siblings all being writers, it was only natural for young Aiken to follow in their footsteps. She started writing when she was young.
She had written her first full-length novel by the time she was sixteen, and the next year, her first short story for adults was published. In 1941, her first story for kids was read on the BBC show Children’s Hour.
She was a librarian at the United Nations Information Centre in London from 1943 to 1949.
After her husband died suddenly in 1955, she started working for the magazine Argosy.
At Argosy, she took on different roles and did different things in the editorial department. Also, she learned all the little details of writing at Argosy, which helped her become a professional writer.
From 1955 to 1960, most of the short stories she wrote were published in the magazine Argosy. She also wrote two collections of stories for children and a book for children during this time.
After getting a good name for herself as a children’s writer, she quit her job at Argosy and started writing full-time. She wrote two or three books for kids and thrillers every year. She also wrote articles, and introductions, and gave talks about children’s books and the works of Jane Austen.
In 1962, she made her most important work. This book for kids was first called “Bonnie Green,” but later became known as “The Wolves of the Willoughby Chase.” It went on to get a lot of good feedback from people who read it.
After “The Wolves of the Willoughby Chase” became popular, she wrote 12 more books with similar plots. These books are now known as the “Wolves Chronicle,” “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase series,” or “James III series.” It had a prequel called “The Whispering Mountain” and 10 other parts that came after it.
She wrote more than 100 books in her lifetime, including 12 collections of stories, plays, poems, historical novels, and modern stories for adults and children.
She is known for writing scary books for kids like “The Windscreen Weepers,” “The Shadow Guests,” “A Whisper in the Night,” and “A Creepy Company.” In the same style, she also wrote a book for adults called “The Haunting of Lamb House.”
Awards & Achievements
She won two prestigious awards during her life: the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1969 and the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1972. Both of these awards were given to her for her important work in children’s and adult literature.
After her book was chosen as the best children’s book by a British author that year, she came in second place for the Carnegie Medal from the Library Association.
In 1999, she was given the honorary title “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” for her work as a writer of short stories and books for children.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1945, she married Ronald George Brown, a journalist who worked for UNIC. They were lucky to have two children. Brown died in 1955, which was very sad.
She got married to New York painter and teacher Julius Goldstein in 1976. They spent some time in Petworth, West Sussex, and some in New York. Goldstein also died in 2001.
She died on January 4, 2004, when she was 79 years old. Her two children lived on after she died.
Estimated Net worth
Jane is one of the wealthiest authors and is on the list of the most popular authors. Based on what we found on Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider, Jane Aiken Hodge has a net worth of about $1.5 million.
Not many people know that this well-known author of children’s short stories and the novel “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” was a fan of ghost stories his whole life, especially the ones by M. R. James, Fitz James O’Brien, and Nugent Barker.