Author Discussion: Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne JonesJoin us for a spirited discussion of one of our favourite fantasy authors – the late, great Diana Wynne Jones!

Author of Howl’s Moving Castle, Archer’s Goon and the Chrestomanci series, among many others, Diana was described by Neil Gaiman as “…the best writer of magic there is, for readers of any age.” But, after so much success, why isn’t she a household name? What is her place in today’s crowded YA fiction market?  And just how much of her difficult childhood is evident in her stories? Our panel of intrepid fantasy fans set out to answer these and other questions on their whistle-stop tour of her life and works.

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How's Moving Castle

Is Peter seeing things, or are there bits of the Welsh dragon in there?

4 thoughts on “Author Discussion: Diana Wynne Jones

  1. Just finished listening–was brought here by the Celebrate DWJ tumblr feed. Thanks for a fun discussion! I was lucky enough to start finding DWJ books when I was about 11, so I am a long-time addict. My first was Witch’s Business (Wilkin’s Tooth to you), but my favorites are Fire & Hemlock and The Crown of Dalemark. I have them all, and they’ve had a big effect on me–odd to think that I’m one of those children she worried about influencing.

    • I was brought here via the same Tumblr feed as dangermom! I first read The Lives of Christopher Chant when I was about 8 or 9 years old, and quickly consumed most of her other books before the age of 12 (including her so-called “adult” books. Deep Secret was and is one of my favorites!) I was also a childhood fan of Miyazaki, and was amazed to discover when I first started surfing the internet that the studio which had made Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service was animating a book by my favorite author. I consider her my favorite to this day, though I have to admit I haven’t revisited many of her books in years, but have started to feel I should now that I’m (technically) an adult. And following her death last year I’d like to properly come to grips with all she’s meant to me. I wasn’t aware of Reflections before listening to this podcast, but it sounds like the perfect way to do so!
      I found your comments about her relative popularity to JK Rowling interesting. While I’m a great fan of Harry Potter (I may have read Philosopher’s Stone before Christopher Chant in fact), I’ve always thought DWJ is much better. I like that her plots ramble on a bit and don’t always quite tie up neatly at the end like well-crafted mysteries — I think that’s much more realistic and truer to the whimsical view of life she instilled in me. Perhaps because more than plotline, for me the focus of her stories is her characters (weird as it is to admit now, I seemed to have crushes on a large number of them throughout my childhood, anyway).
      I’d love to hear another podcast (or ten) on DWJ, particularly on her influence from Tolkein and Lewis. And yes, more about children’s fantasy generally! It’s by far the most important genre. :)

  2. Hi gang. Well, you’ve done it – another fine podcast (I’m just catching up, you see)! Thanks for introducing me to the world of Diana Wynne Jones. I was so intrigued that I’ve bought The Chronicles of Chrestomanci and Howl’s Moving Castle series of books for Christmas presents for our 12 year-old granddaughter!

    Counting down the days till the Doctor Who Christmas Special. Can’t wait!

  3. Thanks for the comments everyone. I’m glad that it’s been interesting both to dedicated DWJ fans, and especially pleased to introduce her to someone new. Let us know how your granddaughter gets on with the books, Mark!

    Rebecca, we certainly hope to do more children’s literature podcasts, and we’ll try to revisit Diana Wynne Jones sometime soon… we all had a great time recording this podcast, and could have continued for much longer.

    Stay tuned for our commentary on the Doctor Who Christmas special in a couple of weeks time!

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