Cover image for Reflections : on the magic of writing
Reflections : on the magic of writing
Jones, Diana Wynne, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Greenwillow Books, 2012.
Physical Description:
xxx, 368 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
"This collection of more than twenty-five critical essays, speeches, and biographical pieces written and/or chosen by Diana Wynne Jones will be required reading for the author's many fans and for students and teachers of the genre. Reflections includes insightful literary criticism alongside autobiographical anecdotes about reading tours (including an account of the author's famous travel jinx), revelations about the origins of the author's books, and thoughts in general about the life of an author and the value of writing. The longest autobiographical piece, "Something About the Author, " details Diana's extraordinary childhood and is illustrated with family photographs. Reflections is essential reading for anyone interested in Diana Wynne Jones's work, fantasy, or creative writing. With a foreword by Neil Gaiman, introduction and interview by Charlie Butler, bibliography, and index. "Various threads run through this collection, but by far the strongest is that of the need for fantasy in all its many facets and its value for children and adults alike. It is my hope that some of these items will be of use to people."--Diana Wynne Jones "Her writings assembled in one place tell us how she thought about literature and the reasons for literature, about the place of children's fiction in the world, about the circumstances that shaped her and her own understanding and vision of who she was and what she did. It is ferociously intelligent, astonishingly readable, and as with so much that Diana Wynne Jones did, she makes each thing she writes, each explanation for why the world is as it is, look so easy."-Neil Gaiman"--
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PR6060.O497 Z74 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
PR6060.O497 Z74 2012 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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This collection of more than twenty-five critical essays, speeches, and biographical pieces chosen by Diana Wynne Jones before her death in 2011 is essential reading for the author's many fans and for students and teachers of the fantasy genre and creative writing in general. The volume includes insightful literary criticism alongside autobiographical anecdotes, revelations about the origins of the author's books, and reflections about the life of an author and the value of writing for young people.

Reflections features the author's final interview, a foreword by award-winning author Neil Gaiman, and an introduction by Charlie Butler, a senior lecturer in English at the University of West England in Bristol.

Author Notes

Diana Wynne Jones was born in London on August 16, 1934. In 1953, she began school at St. Anne's College Oxford and attended lectures by J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis. After graduation, she created plays for children that were performed at the London Arts Theatre. Her first book was published in 1973. She wrote over 40 books during her lifetime including Dark Lord of Derkholm, Earwig and the Witch, and the Chrestomanci series. She won numerous awards including the Guardian Award for Children's Books in 1977 for Charmed Life, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award in 1984 for Archer's Goon, the Mythopeic Award in 1999, the Karl Edward Wagner Award in 1999, and the Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Organization in 2007. Her book Howl's Moving Castle was adapted into an animated film by director Hayao Miyazaki, and the film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. She died from lung cancer on March 26, 2011 at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

When Jones learned she had only a few months to live, she and her agent, Laura Cecil, began gathering together a sampling of her essays. They run the gamut: an interview with Charles Butler (author of Four British Fantasists, 2006); her own fascinating Something about the Author entry; a succinct day in the life of an author making school visits (educators take note she is not complimentary!); and her son's eulogy at her funeral. With an introductory explanation of why it was chosen, each selection reveals Jones in one of her charming guises much-loved children's fantasy author, cuddling mum reading bedtime stories, unlucky traveler, reluctant author of adult books, and perceptive philosopher on writing, especially fantasy, and especially for children. It's a collection that belongs in every children's literature and writing course and on every library shelf. A serious, sometimes humorous, always perceptive tutorial on how to write, why to write, and most importantly how and why to write fantasy for children, the book achieves Jones' self-effacing and understated goal: It is my hope that some of these items will be of use to people. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Jones' career spanned four decades and, in that time, she wrote more than 40 fantasy books for young people. Fans of the legendary author, who passed away in 2011, will be eager to glean her advice.--Bradburn, Frances Copyright 2010 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

Putting her papers together in the face of her impending death, Jones chose and arranged these lectures, articles, and reviews written between 1978 and 2008 to encapsulate her beliefs about writing, writing for children, and fantasy. Ranging from literary criticism to autobiography, the 28 pieces illustrate her insight, her humor, and the mastery of her craft. She describes how magic and humor work, discusses the nature of heroes, the uses of mythology, and the value of learning Anglo-Saxon. Other selections reflect on the magic of the "Narnia" books, the nature of "Real Books," and the orchestration of a narrative. Because this volume is a gathering of pieces written over many years, topics and episodes are repeated, like recurring melodies in a long piece of music. One of the most important themes is that humans-children and adults-need fantasy. In some ways, her entire oeuvre is a reaction to a childhood in which fantasy literature was denied, as revealed in the long essay she wrote for Something About the Author and included here. An interview with the book's editor, Charlie Butler, and reminiscences by two of her sons wrap up the collection. Readers who have known and loved the author's vast body of work will nod and laugh, rejoice that they can return to works like the "Chrestomanci" series, and mourn the fact that there will be no more.-Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.