I woke up on Saturday morning to learn that Diana Wynne Jones had died.
I only ever met Diana once, when she appeared at the Bath Festival of Children's Literature in 2008, but she has been one of my favourite writers for over 20 years, and knowing ahe has gone leaves a little hole in my heart.
I remember when I first found her work. It was in 1988, and I came across 'The Lives of Christopher Chant' in my local library, and fell in love.
In the years that followed, I searched out everything she wrote. It wasn't always easy, as many of the books were out of print - it gave me a sense of triumph when I managed to track one down, but always mingled with baffled anger at the fact that these wonderful stories had been allowed to go out of print.
A few years ago I wrote to Diana, via her publisher, to tell her how much joy her work had given me, how much I loved the variety, and how much certain books had meant me. I was surprised and delighted to get a lovely, warm, personal letter back.
I was encouraged to attend my first Con by reading 'Deep Secret', which left me feeling that a con might be the kind of place I'd fit in (Although I have never, yet, met a centaur at one)
I know we have all known for some time that Diana was very ill, but hearing of her death still came as a shock.
I am so glad that she did get to see her books come back into print, and to see the 'Howl's Moving Castle'. I mourn the fact that she had to endure a horrible illness, that she had to go when she still had new, fresh stories unwritten.
My deepest sympathies are for her family and her friends, and I do hope that they will, now or soon, take some comfort from seeing how much she was loved and valued by so many of us who knew her only through her books.
I shall be re-reading my favorites this week.
Thank you again, Diana. Rest in Peace.