Born 1934, in London, England; Education: St. Anne's College, Oxford, B.A., 1956.
Agent—Laura Cecil, 17 Alwyne Villas, London N1 2HG, England.
Writer, beginning 1965.
Society of Authors, British Science Fiction Association.
Carnegie commendation, 1975, for Dogsbody; Guardian commendation, 1977, for Power of Three; Carnegie commendation, 1977, and Guardian Award, 1978, both for Charmed Life; Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Book award, for Archer's Goon, and Horn Book Honor List, for Fire and Hemlock, both 1984; Horn Book Fanfare List, 1987, and Phoenix Award, 2006, both for Howl's Moving Castle; Methuen Children's Award, and Carnegie commendation, both 1988, both for The Lives of Christopher Chant; Mythopoeic Fantasy Award in children's category, 1996, for The Crown of Dalemark, and 1999, Dark Lord of Derkholm; Best Books citation, School Library Journal, 1998, and for Dark Lord of Derkholm; Karl Edward Wagner Fantasy Award, British Fantasy Society, 1999.
Wilkins' Tooth, illustrated by Julia Rodber, Macmillan (London, England), 1973, published as Witch's Business, Dutton (New York, NY), 1974, reprinted, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2002.
The Ogre Downstairs, Macmillan (London, England), 1974, Dutton (New York, NY), 1975.
Eight Days of Luke, Macmillan (London, England), 1975, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1988.
Dogsbody, Macmillan (London, England), 1975, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1977.
Power of Three, Macmillan (London, England), 1976, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1977.
Who Got Rid of Angus Flint? (also see below), illustrated by John Sewell, Evans Brothers, 1978.
The Four Grannies (also see below), illustrated by Thelma Lambert, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1980.
The Homeward Bounders, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1981, reprinted, Harper Trophy (New York, NY), 2002.
The Time of the Ghost, Macmillan (London, England), 1981, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1996.
Warlock at the Wheel and Other Stories, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984.
Archer's Goon, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1984, reprinted, 2003.
Fire and Hemlock, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1985.
Howl's Moving Castle, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1986.
A Tale of Time City, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1987.
Chair Person (also see below), illustrated by Glenys Ambrus, Hamish Hamilton (London, England), 1989, Puffin (New York, NY), 1991.
Wild Robert, illustrated by Emma Chichester-Clark, Methuen (London, England), 1989, Greenwillow (New York, NY) 2003.
Castle in the Air (sequel to Howl's Moving Castle), Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1991.
Aunt Maria, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1991.
Black Maria, Methuen (London, England), 1991.
Yes, Dear (picture book), illustrated by Graham Philpot, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1992.
Stopping for a Spell: Three Fantasies (includes Chair Person, Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?, and Four Grannies), illustrated by Jos. A. Smith, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1993.
Hexwood, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1994.
Everard's Ride, NESFA (Framingham, MA), 1995.
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, Vista (London, England), 1996.
Minor Arcana, Gollancz (London, England), 1996.
Deep Secret, Gollancz (London, England), 1997, Tor (New York, NY), 1999.
Dark Lord of Derkholm, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1998.
Seeing Is Believing: Seven Stories, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1999.
Year of the Griffin (sequel to Dark Lord of Derkholm), Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2000.
Wild Robert, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.
The Merlin Conspiracy, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2003.
Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2004.
Conrad's Fate, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2005.
FOR CHILDREN; "DALEMARK" CYCLE
Cart and Cwidder, Macmillan (London, England), 1975, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1977, reprinted, Harper-Trophy (New York, NY), 2001.
Drowned Ammet, Macmillan (London, England), 1977, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1978.
The Spellcoats, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1979.
The Crown of Dalemark, Methuen (London, England), 1993, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1995.
The Dalemark Quartet (two volumes; contains all four "Dalemark" books), Eos (New York, NY), 2005.
FOR CHILDREN; "CHRESTOMANCI" CYCLE
Charmed Life, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1977.
The Magicians of Caprona, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1980.
Witch Week, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1982.
The Lives of Christopher Chant, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1988.
Chronicles of Chrestomanci (two volumes; contains all four "Chrestomanci" books), HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2001.
Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 2001.
FOR CHILDREN; PLAYS
The Batterpool Business, first produced at Arts Theatre, London, 1968.
The King's Things, first produced at Arts Theatre, 1970.
The Terrible Fisk Machine, first produced at Arts Theatre, 1971.
Changeover (adult novel), Macmillan (London, England), 1970.
The Skiver's Guide, illustrated by Chris Winn, Knight Books, 1984.
(Editor) Hidden Turnings: A Collection of Stories through Time and Space, Greenwillow (New York, NY), 1990.
A Sudden Wild Magic, Morrow (New York, NY), 1992.
(Editor) Fantasy Stories, illustrated by Robin Lawrie, Kingfisher (New York, NY), 1994.
(Author of introduction) Louise Cooper, Spiral Garden, British Fantasy Society, 2000.
Contributor to books, including The Cat-Flap and the Apple Pie, W. H. Allen, 1979; Hecate's Cauldron, DAW Books, 1981; Hundreds and Hundreds, Puffin, 1984; Dragons and Dreams, Harper, 1986; and Guardian Angels, Viking Kestrel, 1987.
Archer's Goon was adapted as a television series by Marilyn Fox, 1992; Howl's Moving Castle was adapted as the animated film Hauro no ugoku shiro by Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, 2004.
Work in Progress
The Pinhoe Egg, another Chrestomanci story.
Diana Wynne Jones is a British author of prolific talents and wry humor who uses the fantasy genre—her particular interpretation of it, at any rate—to tell coming-of-age tales with a twist. "Her hallmarks," according to Kit Alderdice in a Publishers Weekly interview with the author, "include laugh-aloud humor, plenty of magic, and an imaginative array of alternate worlds." Alderdice went on to note that, along with humor, there is also a "great sense of seriousness" present in all of Jones's novels, "a sense of urgency that links Jones's most outrageous plots to her readers' hopes and fears." But for Alderdice, "Jones's books are never grim, nor are they didactic."
This sentiment was echoed by Donna R. White writing in Dictionary of Literary Biography. White noted that Jones, while writing children's fantasy, stands the conventions of that genre on their heads. "Instinctively hostile to rules," White declared, "Jones employs her unbounded inventiveness to create fantasy worlds that break the conventions and show her readers the world from a new and imaginative angle. Jones specializes in surprising plot twists and slapstick humor, which she combines with scenes of serious drama."
Jones once told Something about the Author: "When I write for children, my first aim is to make a story as amusing and exciting as possible, such as I wished I could have read as a child. My second aim is equally important. It is to give children—without presuming to instruct them—the benefit of my greater experience. I like to explore the private terrors and troubles which beset children." Mixing a potent brew of magic, myth, and fantasy, Jones typically tells the story of a youngster between the ages of ten and thirteen—often operating in a difficult relationship with the adults in his or her life—who undergoes some crisis as a result of the realization of magical powers. Working through this crisis, the protagonist often finds an "enhanced stature within the family, and feet set firmly on a career of using magic for good," according to Jessica Yates writing in Twentieth-Century Young Adult Writers. Yates went on to stress "how readable, funny, enjoyable, and 'un-putdownable'" Jones's novels are.
Born in London on August 16, 1934, Jones had a childhood guaranteed to make a writer—or recluse—of a person. Much of her youth was informed by the horrors and vicissitudes of World War II. Evacuated at the age of five from London to the relative safety of Wales, Jones and her younger sister first stayed with their grandmother. Soon joined by their mother and a new baby sister, the reunion was anything but warm. Jones's mother, Marjorie, did not care for the Welsh-isms in the children's speech. In 1940 the family moved to Westmorland in northern England, where Jones and her siblings lived with other children evacuated from southern, urban areas. Here Jones had her first encounters with authors: both Arthur Ransome and Beatrix Potter lived nearby, and neither seemed to like children much. Relocation continued during the war years, landing the family next in a Yorkshire nunnery, and then back in a London suburb in 1942 after the worst of the Blitz was over.
It was at about this time that Jones determined she would be an author, a notion her parents scoffed at, despite the fact that her mother was Oxford educated and was herself searching for a suitable career. An opportunity seemed to present itself to Jones's parents when, in 1943, they took jobs running a cultural center for young adults in the rural Essex village of Thaxted. Jones's experience at Thaxted was anything but a country idyll, however. With the main house on the grounds used for the center, the three young girls were housed in a hastily prepared two-room shack with inadequate heating and no water. Left to their own devices by their busy and distant parents, the three girls bonded with each other for support and community. Irony and a strong sense of humor proved to be survival skills in such a situation.
Of all the privations of village life, the worst for Jones was the absence of reading material. By then a voracious reader, she soon made her way through the small local library, as well as the bookshelves of the school her parents ran. Such reading included the Greek myths, as well as The Arabian Nights and works by Homer. Each Christmas the girls' father would go to the cupboard where he kept a complete set of Ransome novels and pick one out for the three daughters as their communal present. To fill the literary void, Jones took to composing her own works, filling the pages of exercise books with two cliche-filled epics as a young teenager.
Jones attended Oxford's St. Anne's College, partly thanks to a near-photographic memory. There she studied under both C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkein, both of whom greatly influenced not only her writing style, but also her choice of genres. Graduating in 1956, Jones was married in that same year to a young man whom she had met at the Thaxted center several years before. For the next decade, Jones was busy with the difficult task of motherhood, raising three boys born in 1958, 1961, and 1963, respectively. Though she had always dreamed of being a writer, she had never thought of writing children's books, but her own tour of duty as a mother encouraged her in that direction. Determined that her children should never feel deprived of good books as she had during her childhood, Jones went in search of books to read to them. When she could not find good contemporary fantasy literature, she decided to create some herself.
Though she did publish one adult novel in 1970, her first children's work, Wilkins' Tooth, did not appear until 1973. A story of two kids who set up in the revenge business and eventually tangle with the local witch, this first novel, published in the U.S. as Witch's Business, is important in that it "shows the unflagging inventiveness and sense of humor characteristic of Jones's style," according to White in the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Also, as Christopher Davis pointed out in the New York Times Book Review, no "authority but the child's own is ever recognized and adults are never appealed to." Thus, set in place with her first novel are Jones's twin pillars: a sense of humor and an adolescent protagonist largely bereft of parental supervision who must fend for him-or herself.
Jones's next novel, The Ogre Downstairs, relates the story of five stepchildren who deal with the trials of a blended family by creating magical spells with a chemistry set. Compared to the fantasy works of Edwardian writer E. Nesbit, Jones's second novel won favorable reviews and also introduced themes, such as displacement and alienation, that she would further develop in later novels. Much of Jones's later work hearkens back to the difficulties of her own childhood, when she was continually displaced during the war years and left to fend for herself emotionally.
Since these early novels, Jones has written several dozen books for young readers, each dealing in some way with magic and fantasy. Some of these, such as The Homeward Bounders and A Tale of Time City, with their alternate worlds, could be classified as science fiction. Her first book to win recognition, in the form of a Carnegie commendation, was the 1975 Dogsbody, in which the Dog Star, Sirius, is banished to earth in the form of a newborn puppy, there to become the object of the adoration of Kathleen, a neglected young girl whose father is in prison for terrorist activities. Indeed, 1975 was a watershed year for Jones, as she published two other novels; one of them, Cart and Cwidder, initiating the Dalemark quartet of books completed in 1993 with publication of The Crown of Dalemark.
The Dalemark series, also including Drowned Ammet and The Spellcoats, was described by White as "a more conventional kind of fantasy than Jones usually writes—almost High Fantasy." Jones creates a mythical medieval land, Dalemark, for these books, and tells the story of the North and South kingdoms and of characters young and old who go in search of the lost crown of Dalemark. Reviewing the last title in the series, Booklist reviewer Chris Sherman noted that "treachery, mystery, humor, and magic abound in this intriguing, well-crafted fantasy," and that Jones's "quirky characters" are so well drawn that "readers will feel they know them."
Jones has also written another fantasy series known as the "Chrestomanci" books, which include Charmed Life, The Magicians of Caprona, Witch Week, and The Lives of Christopher Chant. As Margaret Meek observed in School Librarian, the Chrestomanci Cycle takes place "in a universe where magic is normal and the unexpected commonplace." The books in this cycle are loosely linked together by the enchanter Chrestomanci, who appears in all four titles; the books are also united by what White described in Dictionary of Literary Biography as "high-comedy, fast-paced adventure, and convoluted plots." Two of the books in this series, Charmed Life and The Lives of Christopher Chant, were award-winners in Jones's native England.
Among Jones's non-series books are the award-winning Howl's Moving Castle and its sequel, Castle in the Air, and the 1981 novels The Homeward Bounders and The Time of the Ghost, the latter not published in the U.S. until 1996. Inspired by The Arabian Nights as well as fairy tales from Europe, the duo, Howl's Moving Castle and Castle in the Air, tell the story of Sophie Hatter, who must work as an apprentice hat-maker while her sisters go out into the world to seek their fortunes. Sophie is turned into an old crone and the Wizard Howl follows his moving castle around the countryside in the award-winning novel first novel, in which "wit and humor glint from the pages," according to Horn Book reviewer Ethel R. Twichell. The castle of the sequel is again Howl's, and this time he has become a genie in a bottle, while a young carpet-merchant purchases a magic carpet straight out of The Arabian Nights. Ann A. Flowers, writing in Horn Book, commented that this sequel "contains enough material for any number of books" and that it is "cleverly written, with flowing Middle-Eastern expressions and amusing, sardonic remarks."
Dubbed Jones's "most powerful novels" by White the in Dictionary of Literary Biography, The Homeward Bounders and The Time of the Ghost both deal with the themes of alienation and displacement. In The Homeward Bounders, Jamie discovers that his world is simply a giant game-board for the masters he calls "Them." Having discovered the secret, he is discarded from the game, destined to walk the borders between the worlds forever in a novel Judith Elkin, writing in Times Literary Supplement, described as "strangely compelling—rather like a monster jigsaw-puzzle in which the reader can become totally and intensely absorbed." Published in England the same year as The Homeward Bounders, The Time of the Ghost was not published in the U.S. until fifteen years later, due to Briticisms that make for more difficult reading. Dealing in a fictional manner with Jones's years in Thaxted, the novel tells of four neglected sisters who live in a converted shack next to a boys' boarding school. In this tale, a ghost returns to the past and attempts to prevent her own death, to change history in effect. Horn Book reviewer Flowers concluded that the "Complex plot … is absorbing, but equally interesting and frequently amusing are the family dynamics and the character sketches of the four fascinatingly eccentric sisters." A Tale of Time City also deals with Jones's childhood experiences during the war.
Three of Jones's early short novels for younger readers, Chair Person, Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?, and The Four Grannies, were also published later in the U.S., pulled together under one cover for the 1993 Stopping for a Spell. A critic for Kirkus Reviews commented that, "as usual, Jones's sly wit and irrepressible imagination are a delight—in fast-moving, easily read, laugh-aloud stories," while a Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded that this collection serves as "an ideal introduction to the quirky humor and witchery that characterizes this author's work."
An eclectic author, Jones continues to push the bounds of the genre she has worked in for a quarter of a century. Not all of her works are served up with frothing bits of humor; the dark 1991 fantasy, Aunt Maria, for example, is a horror story involving werewolves and zombies, while Fire and Hemlock, Jones's "most challenging book for adolescents," in White's opinion, is a book with a convoluted structure and shifting time perspectives which examines deep emotional states. 1994's Hexwood walks the bounds between science fiction and fantasy and deals in virtual reality. When young Ann, the teenage daughter of a British couple, notices strangers arriving at Hexwood Farm but never reemerging, she investigates, only to find that the boundaries of time and space are not what she thought. Sally Estes, writing in Booklist, called the novel "fast-paced" and the mystery "compelling." Estes also commented on the Jones trademark: "There's even a nice bit of humor." Joan Zahnleiter concluded in Magpies that "this challenging book is a satisfying read and one that is likely to be reread in order to extract full flavor from its many layers of meaning."
A commentator for Publishers Weekly noted of Dark Lord of Derkholm that "this expansive novel" is on a par with the author's best, managing to be at once "an affectionate send-up of the sword-and-sorcery genre and a thrilling fantasy adventure in its own right." Each year, package tours come looking for excitement in Derkholm, but this year, teenage Blade and his magical siblings must do something to set things right and set the land free from the tyranny of the evil bureaucrat, Mr. Chesney. "Thought-provoking and utterly engaging, this tour-de-force succeeds on numerous levels," the reviewer concluded. Flowers noted in Horn Book that one of the charms of the book "is the staggering magnitude of the invention," and concluded that the novel is "the author's best fantasy in some time."
Year of the Griffin, set eight years after Dark Lord of Derkholm, "retains the goofiness of its predecessor," according to Booklist contributor Sally Estes, "continuing Jones' spoof of traditional fantasy conventions." The book centers on six students who have recently begun to study at Wizard's University, despite their parents' objections and the declining quality of the education provided there. At least four of the six are hiding their whereabouts from someone: Elda's father (Derk the wizard from Dark Lord of Derkholm) doesn't know that she enrolled at the university and wouldn't approve if he did; Lukin's father, the king of Luteria, forbade him to study magic at all; and Felim and Claudia are under death threats from the Emir and the Senate, respectively. As for the other two members of this study group, one is a dwarf who hopes to use the magical powers he is acquiring to become the leader of a dwarf revolution and the other refuses to talk about her past. As Beth Wright noted in School Library Journal, "the misdeeds ensuing from various attempts to retrieve or retaliate against the young wizards provide most of the dramatic thrust for this hilarious ensemble piece" "Jones skillfully pulls together an enormous cast, a dozen convergent plots, an entertaining and well developed setting, and her trademark humor for the rousing finale," Anita L. Burkam commented in Horn Book, the critic adding that Jones demonstrates a solid "command of her material."
The Merlin Conspiracy is another complex fantasy that "shows the author's signature style and imagination," as Beth L. Meister declared in School Library Journal. The action in The Merlin Conspiracy is spread out across several different parallel worlds, primarily the Islands of Blest, an alternate, magical England. One of the book's two narrators, Arianrhod "Roddy" Hyde lives there with her parents, who are mages in the king's traveling court. The other narrator, Nick Mallory, begins in the normal, modern-day Earth, but goes on a journey that takes him to several different worlds, including, finally, Blest. There he teams up with Roddy and her friend Grundo to try figure out who murdered the old Merlin (the name/title for the court official who is responsible for keeping magic under control) and is apparently trying to destroy the magical balance of the multiverse. Featuring a gigantic cast and multiple worlds, The Merlin Conspiracy could be daunting to those unfamiliar with Jones's other writings, commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor, adding that "those accustomed to Jones's labyrinthine narrative pyrotechnics will settle back to enjoy everything crashing together in a universe-tilting climax." "The story, infused with humor as well as exciting adventure, makes compelling reading," Sally Estes concluded in Booklist, and a Publishers Weekly critic suspected that readers would find themselves "ensorcelled by this exuberant tale and Jones's unmistakable wit."
Wild Robert is aimed at a slightly younger audience than some of Jones's other tales. The title character of this novella is a naughty young magician who was executed at Castlemaine 350 years ago. He remained safely trapped underground until Heather, the daughter of Castlemaine's curators, accidentally summons him. At first Heather is happy to have someone to keep her company while her parents lead tours through the castle grounds, but she soon comes to realize that an impulsive magician with a grudge against those who purportedly stole his inheritance can be quite a handful. "Light and fun, this fantasy is fine for children who aren't old enough for Jones's more complex fare," Eva Mitnick concluded in School Library Journal. However, Mitnick and other critics also saw a deeper side to Wild Robert's story; by the end of the tale "both Heather and the reader will see the pathos behind Wild Robert's frenetic chaos," noted a Kirkus Reviews critic.
Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories pulls together sixteen of Jones's tales, including "The Girl Jones," an autobiographical story about Jones as a nine-year-old, and the novella "Everard's Ride." Speaking of the latter story, Carolyn Phelan wrote in Booklist that "this excellent romantic adventure is worth the price of the book." Other tales contained in the volume are "Enna Hittims," in which a sick child made to stay at home amuses herself by conjuring up tiny magical characters who proceed to destroy her house; "The Girl Who Loved the Sun," a romance; and "Little Dot," a story narrated by a wizard's helpful pet cat. "Each story smoothly draws readers in and brings its own mood and adventure," Beth L. Meister noted in School Library Journal, and the characters in all of the tales "are both appealing and realistically flawed." "Great work from one of the best modern fantasy authors," concluded a Kirkus Reviews critic.
This 2003 novel finds teens Nick and Roddy, apprentice sorcerers, pitted against a group of power-hungry wizards conspiring to take over the magic in the kingdom of Blest.
Reviewers frequently run out of superlatives when describing Jones's work. Her blending of Norse, Greek, and Celtic mythologies with fantastic elements of magic, ghosts, enchanted animals, and witches has led to an impressive body of work that is almost always characterized also by a large dollop of humor. As Elaine Moss noted in the Times Literary Supplement, "Jones is a prolific novelist of enormous range who can raise hairs on the back of the neck one minute, belly laughs the next." As Jones herself put it in an autobiographical sketch for Something about the Author Autobiography Series, "I get unhappy if I don't write. Each book is an experiment, an attempt to write the ideal book, the book my children would like, the book I didn't have as a child myself."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Children's Literature Review, Volume 23, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1991.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Volume 26, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1983.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 161: British Children's Writers since 1960, edited by Caroline C. Hart, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Fifth Book of Junior Authors, edited by Sally Holmes Holtze, H. W. Wilson (New York, NY), 1983.
St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Something about the Author Autobiography Series, Volume 7, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1989.
Twentieth-Century Young-Adult Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Booklist, June 1, 1994, Sally Estes, review of Hexwood, pp. 1803-1804; December 15, 1995, Chris Sherman, review of The Crown of Dalemark, p. 698; November, 2000, Sally Estes, review of Year of the Griffin, p. 535; April 15, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci, p. 1558, Sally Estes, review of Year of the Griffin, p. 1561; April 15, 2002, Sally Estes, review of Year of the Griffin, p. 1416; April 15, 2003, Sally Estes, review of The Merlin Conspiracy, p. 1464; September 15, 2003, Kay Weisman, review of Wild Robert, p. 237; April 15, 2004, Carolyn Phelan, review of Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories, p. 1450.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July-August, 1975; July-August, 1993, review of Stopping for a Spell, p. 348; May, 1994, review of Hexwood, p. 290; October, 1996, review of The Time of the Ghost, p. 65.
Horn Book, May-June, 1986, Ethel R. Twichell, review of Howl's Moving Castle, pp. 331-1332; March-April, 1991, Ann A. Flowers, review of Castle in the Air, p. 206; May, 1994, review of Witch Week, p. 345; March, 1996, Ann A. flowers, review of The Crown of Dalemark, p. 209; November-December, 1996, Ann A. Flowers, review of The Time of the Ghost, pp. 736-737; November, 1998, Ann A. Flowers, review of Dark Lord of Derkholm, p. 732; November, 2000, Anita L. Burkam, review of Year of the Griffin, p. 755; May, 2001, review of Mixed Magics, p. 327; May-June, 2003, Susan Dove Lempke, review of The Merlin Conspiracy, p. 359; July-August, 2004, Kristi Elle Jemtegaard, review of Charmed Life, p. 474.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1993, review of Stopping for a Spell, p. 663; March 15, 2003, review of The Merlin Conspiracy, p. 469; August 15, 2003, review of Wild Robert, p. 1074; April 15, 2004, review of Unexpected Magic, p. 395.
Kliatt, May, 2003, Stacey Conrad, review of Deep Secret, p. 26; September, 2004, Sherri Ginsberg, review of Charmed Life, p. 54; November, 2004, Sherri Ginsberg, review of The Lives of Christopher Chant, p. 48.
Magpies, July, 1994, Joan Zahnleiter, review of Hexwood, p. 34.
New York Times Book Review, May 5, 1974, Christopher Davis, review of Witch's Business, pp. 22, 24, 26.
Publishers Weekly, February 22, 1991, Kit Alderdice, "Diana Wynne Jones," pp. 201-202; May 24, 1993, review of Stopping for a Spell, p. 88; October 19, 1998, review of Dark Lord of Derkholm, p. 82; October 16, 2000, review of Year of the Griffin, p. 77; April 23, 2001, review of Mixed Magics, p. 79; March 10, 2003, review of The Merlin Conspiracy, p. 73.
School Librarian, December, 1977, Margaret Meek, review of Charmed Life, pp. 363-364.
School Library Journal, October, 1992, Linda Greengrass, review of Yes, Dear, p. 89; March, 1994, Vanessa Elder, review of Hexwood, p. 236; October, 1998, Steven Engelfried, review of Dark Lord of Derkholm, p. 136; October, 2000, Beth Wright, review of Year of the Griffin, p. 161; July, 2001, Patricia A. Dollisch, review of Mixed Magics, p. 110; May, 2003, Beth L. Meister, review of The Merlin Conspiracy, p. 154; October, 2003, Eva Mitnick, review of Wild Robert, p. 128; September, 2004, Louise L. Sherman, review of The Lives of Christopher Chant, p. 78, Beth L. Meister, review of Unexpected Magic, p. 209; October, 2004, Sarah Flowers, review of Charmed Life, p. 84.
Times Literary Supplement, March 27, 1981, Judith Elkin, "Walking the Bounds," p. 339; November 20, 1981, Elaine Moss, "Ghostly Forms," p. 1354.
U.S. News and World Report, November 29, 1999, Holly J. Morris, "Mad about Harry? Try Diana," p. 80.
Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1994, review of Witch Week, p. 382; October, 1994, review of Hexwood, p. 223; August, 1995, review of The Spellcoats, p. 172; April, 1997, review of The Time of the Ghost, p. 42.
Diana Wynne Jones Official Fan Web site,http://www.leemac.freeserve.co.uk/ (March 24, 2005).
Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (April 28, 2005), "Diana Wynne Jones."
Many Worlds of Diana Wynne Jones Web site,http://www.dianawynnejones.com/ (April 3, 2005).
Diana Wynne Jones (16 August 1934 – 26 March 2011) was a British writer of fantasy novels for children and adults. She wrote a small amount of non-fiction.
This list follows the Internet Speculative Fiction Database in grouping many works in five fiction series. Some other classifications differ from ISFDB. There is some overlap in listings.
Stand alone books for adults
Stand alone books for children and young adults
Series for children and young adults
The Chrestomanci fantasy series comprises six novels and four short stories.
Publication order The books in order of release:
- Charmed Life (1977) – Guardian Children's Fiction Prize; Carnegie Medal commendation; Preis der Leseratten (ZDF Schülerexpress, Germany)
- The Magicians of Caprona (1980)
- Witch Week (1982)
- The Lives of Christopher Chant (1988) – Carnegie Medal commendation
- Mixed Magics (2000), short stories published 1982 to 2000
- Conrad's Fate (2005)
- The Pinhoe Egg (2006) – Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Children's finalist;Locus AwardYoung Adult Book, 6th place
If the short stories in Mixed Magics are counted separately, the order of release is:
- Charmed Life (1977)
- The Magicians of Caprona (1980)
- Witch Week (1982)
- "The Sage of Theare", in Hecate's Cauldron (1982) ed. Susan M. Schwartz
- "Warlock at the Wheel", in Warlock at the Wheel (1984) by Jones
- "Carol Oneir's Hundredth Dream", in Dragons and Dreams (1986) ed. Jane Yolen et al.
- The Lives of Christopher Chant (1988)
- "Stealer of Souls", in Mixed Magics (2000) by Jones
- Conrad's Fate (2005)
- The Pinhoe Egg (2006)
Reading order Diana Wynne Jones herself, however, recommended reading the books in this order:
- Charmed Life (1977)
- The Lives of Christopher Chant (1988)
- Conrad's Fate (2005)
- Witch Week (1982)
- The Magicians of Caprona (1980)
The short stories in Mixed Magics can be read in any order after that. The Pinhoe Egg can probably be read after The Magicians of Caprona.
Two works feature Christopher Chant as a boy and teen; the others are set during his tenure as Chrestomanci. The narrative sequence is clear for all but two(‡).
- The Lives of Christopher Chant
- Conrad's Fate
- Charmed Life
- "Warlock at the Wheel"
- "The Sage of Theare"‡
- Witch Week‡
- The Magicians of Caprona
- "Stealer of Souls"
- "Carol Oneir's Hundredth Dream"
- The Pinhoe Egg
‡ Three of the short stories follow soon after the novels as listed here. On the other hand, "The Sage of Theare" does not have a fictional date or any landmark that relates it closely to another work in the series. (There is some evidence that it predates Witch Week whose own place is uncertain. Both works were published in 1982. In the novel, Chrestomanci observes that he likes to dress nicely and reveals that he has been called away in his dressing gown a couple of times in spite of his care. That may be an allusion to the short story, where he is summoned in pyjamas.)
‡ Witch Week is set sometime after Charmed Life, in which Chrestomanci acquires his legal wardJanet Chant.
Chronicles of Chrestomanci The Chronicles of Chrestomanci series are set in three volumes:
- The Worlds of Chrestomanci (Chrestomanci # 1-4) (1998): Charmed Life, The Magicians of Caprona, Witch Week, and The Lives of Christopher Chant (Alternate Title: The Chrestomanci Quartet, 2000)
- Diana Wynne Jones Chrestomanci 6 Books Collection (2012): Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Conrad's Fate, Witch Week, The Magicians of Caprona, and The Pinhoe Egg
- The Chrestomanci Series: Entire Collection Books 1-7 (2013): Charmed Life, The Magicians of Caprona, Conrad's Fate, The Lives of Christopher Chant, Witch Week, The Pinhole Egg, Mixed Magics
- The Chrestomanci Series: Books 1-3 (2014): Charmed Life, The Magicians of Caprona, and Conrad's Fate
In order of internal chronology:
- The Spellcoats (1979)
- Cart and Cwidder (1975)
- Drowned Ammet (1977)
- Crown of Dalemark (1993) – Mythopoeic Award, Children's Fantasy
However, when the books were published by Oxford University Press, they were numbered in the order in which they were published (Cart, Ammet, Spellcoats, Crown), and it is possible to read them in this order without any spoilers. (Each of the three other than Crown is a self-contained story with no direct references to the characters or events of the other three books, except for tenuous connections between the characters of Spellcoats, and the folkloric heroes they would be remembered as by the time of the later books. Thusly, minor spoilers can be avoided by reading Spellcoats, the third book, but the order is otherwise irrelevant as long as Crown is read last.)
Planned sequels Diana Wynne Jones insisted she would not be able to write a sequel to The Crown of Dalemark, until she had worked out what became of Tanaqui (The Spellcoats) after the One had reshaped the land. Unfortunately, any further sequels are unlikely following Diana Wynne Jones' passing in 2011.
- Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998) – Mythopoeic Award, Children's Fantasy
- Year of the Griffin (2000)
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (1996) is noted to have similar themes.
Howl's Moving Castle series
- Howl's Moving Castle (1986) – Boston Globe–Horn Book Award Fiction runner-up; 2006 Phoenix Award
- Castle in the Air (1990) – Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Children's finalist
- House of Many Ways (2008) – Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Children's finalist
Picture books and books for younger readers
These are anthologies Diana Wynne Jones edited herself.
Contributed short stories
These short stories were not published as separate volumes, and not included in any collections entirely written by Jones (the next section).
- "Mela Worms", in Arrows of Eros (NEL, 1989, editor Alex Stewart)
- "I'll Give You My Word", in Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction and Fantasy (Penguin, 2005, and 2006, editor Sharyn November), and Year’s Best Fantasy 7 (2007, editors David G. Hartnell & Kathryn Cramer)
- "JoBoy", in The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy (Ace, 2009, editors Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois), and The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 4 (2010, editor Jonathan Strahan)
- "Samantha's Diary", in Stories: All-New Tales (HarperCollins, 2010, editors Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio)
Short story collections
These collections include about 25 pieces of short fiction with much repetition.
- Warlock at the Wheel and Other Stories (1984), 8 stories publ. 1978 to 1984
- Everard’s Ride (1994/1995, republished 1997): a 1983 essay and 7 stories publ. 1984 to 1995
- Stopping for a Spell: Three Fantasies (1993), publ. 1975 to 1989, Illustrated by Chris Mould
- Minor Arcana (1996), UK Release, 7 stories publ. 1982 to 1995 – British Fantasy Award nominee
- Believing is Seeing: Seven Stories (1999), US Release, 7 stories publ. 1982 to 1999, Illustrated by Nenad Jakesevik
- Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci (2000)
- Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories (2002), 16 stories published 1978 to 2003
Stand alone short stories
Published also in other compilations
Other anthologies her works were included in
- Young Winter's Tales 3 (1972, edited by M. R. Hodgkin), with "Carruthers"
- Young Winter's Tales 6 (1975, edited by M. R. Hodgkin), with "Who Got Rid of Angus Flint?"
- Young Winter's Tales 8 (1978, edited by D. J. Denney), with "Auntie Bea's Day Out"
- Puffin Post v13 #4 (1979, magazine), with "The Fluffy Pink Toadstool"
- The Cat Flap and the Apple Pie and Other Funny Stories (1979, edited by Lance Salway) with "Auntie Bea's Day Out"
- Hecate’s Cauldron (1982, editor Susan Schwartz), with "The Sage of Theare"
- Dragons & Dreams: A Collection of New Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories (1986, editor Jane Yolen), with "Carol Oneir’s Hundredth Dream"
- Guardian Angels (1987, editor Stephanie Nuttell, Viking Kestrel) with "The Fat Wizard"
- The Methuen Book of Humorous Stories (1987, editor Jennifer Kavanagh, illustrator Scowler Anderson), with "Enna Hittims"
- Gaslight and Ghosts (1988, editors Stephen Jones and Jo Fletcher) with "The Green Stone"
- Arrows of Eros (1989, editor Alex Stewart), with "Mela Worms"
- Dragons and Warrior Daughters: Fantasy Stories by Women Writers (1989, editor Jessica Yates), with "Dragon Reserve, Home Eight"
- Hidden Turnings (1989), with "The Master"
- Things That Go Bump in the Night (1989, editors Jane Yolen and Martin Harry Greenberg) with "Chair Person"
- Digital Dreams (1990, editor David V. Barrett), with "Nad and Dan Adn Quaffy"
- Heartache (1990, edited by Miraim Hodgson, Methuen), with "The Girl Who Loved the Sun"
- Fenix, V3, #1, 1992 (1992, editor Rafal A. Ziemkiewicz), with "Mela Worms" (translation)
- Bruce Coville's UFOs (1994, 2000, edited by Bruce Coville), with "Dragon Reserve, Home Eight"
- A Treasury of Witches and Wizards (1996, editor David Bennett), republished The Kingfisher Treasury of Witch and Wizard Stories (2004, editor David Bennett), with "The Fat Wizard"
- The Random House Book of Fantasy Stories (1997, editor Mike Ashley), alternate title Fantasy Stories, with "The Green Stone"
- Mystery Stories (1998, editor Helen Cresswell), with "The Master"
- The Wizards’ Den: Spellbinding Stories of Magic & Magicians (2001 and 2003, editor Peter Haining), with "Carol Oneir’s Hundredth Dream"
- Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction (2003, editor Sharyn November), with "Little Dot"
- The Mammoth Book of Sorcerer’s Tales: The Ultimate Collection of Magical Fantasy (2004, editor Mike Ashley), with "The Sage of Theare"
- Now We Are Sick: An Anthology of Nasty Verse (2005, Editors Neil Gaiman and Stephen Jones), with "A Slice of Life" (Poetry for adults)
- Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction and Fantasy (2005 and 2006, editor Sharyn November), with "I’ll Give you My Word"
- Year’s Best Fantasy 7 (2007, editors David G. Hartnell & Kathryn Cramer), with "I’ll Give You My Word"
- Plokta, May 2009 (2009, editors Steve Davies, Alison Scott, and Mike Scott), with "Samantha's Diary"
- The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy (2009, editors Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois), with "JoBoy"
- The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume 4 (2010, editor Jonathan Strahan), with "JoBoy"
- Stories: All-New Tales (2010, editors Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio), with "Samantha’s Diary"
- Unnatural Creatures (2013, editor Neil Gaiman), with "The Sage of Theare"
- The Mammoth Book of Dark Magic (2013, editor Mike Ashley, alternate title The Mammoth Book of Black Magic, with "The Sage of Theare"
- Escape Pod, EP427 (2013, editor Norm Sherman), with "Samantha's Diary"
Complete list of short stories in alphabetical order
- "Auntie Bea’s Day Out", found in Auntie Bea's Day Out (standalone, 1978), and The Cat Flap and the Apple Pie and Other Funny Stories (1979), and Warlock at the Wheel and Other Stories (1984), and Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories (2002), and Freaky Families (2013)
- "Carol Oneir’s Hundredth Dream", found in Dragons & Dreams: A Collection of New Fantasy and Science Fiction Stories (1986), and Mixed Magics: Four Tales of Chrestomanci (2000), and The Wizards’ Den: Spellbinding Stories of Magic & Magicians (2001 and 2003)
- "Carruthers", found in Young Winter's Tales 3 (1972), and Warlock at the Wheel and Other Stories (1984), and Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories (2002)
- "Chair Person", found in Things that Go Bump in the Night (1989), and Chair Person (stand alone 1989), and Stopping for a Spell (2002), and Vile Visitors (2012)
- "Dragon Reserve, Home Eight", found in Warlock at the Wheel and Other Stories (1984), and Dragons and Warrior Daughters: Fantasy Stories by Women Writers (1989), and Bruce Coville's UFOs (1994, 2000), and Everard’s Ride (1995, republished 1997), and Minor Arcana (1996), and Believing is Seeing: Seven Stories (1999), and Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories (2002)
- "Enna Hittims", found in The Methuen Book of Humorous Stories (1987), and Believing is Seeing: Seven Stories (1999), and Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories (2002), and Enna Hittims