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Joan Aiken was the daughter of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Conrad Aiken and his first wife, Jessie McDonald. Her older sister Jane Aiken Hodge, born in the USA, grew up to become a journalist and novelist. Joan began her professional career as a writer working for the BBC. She was best known for her historical fantasy works for young people such as The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. She also was the author of the popular Mortimer and Arabel series, which included The Tales of Arabel’s Raven, illustrated by Quentin Blake. Her thriller novels included Last Movement, The Butterfly Picnic, and A Cluster of Separate Sparks. She was the recipient of the 1969 Guardian Award and the 1972 Edgar Allan Poe Award.
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