Joan Aiken was born in Sussex in 1924. She said, “There were very few children of my age for miles around so books were my friends”. She grew up eager to be a writer “What I wanted to do was give somebody else the absolute joy and excitement and pleasure that I had myself”. Aiken wrote over a hundred books for young readers and adults. She is most famous for creating a historical period that never existed that began with The Wolves Of Willoughby Chase (1962) and continued with Black Hearts In Battersea (1964), The Whispering Mountain (1968), for which she won the Guardian children’s book prize, and Dido And Pa (1986). Joan Aiken died in 2004.