Thursday, September 10, 2020

#CatThursday - #Authors and #Cats (97) Joan Aiken

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite lolcat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Share the link to your post with your comment below.

The second Cat Thursday of each month is Authors and Cats Thursday. Each time I will feature an author (with a birthday during the month), pictured with their/a cat(s), or guest posts by cat loving authors who also (sometimes) write about cats.

Joan Aiken (b. September 04, 1924 - d. January 04, 2004) was a much loved English writer who received the MBE for services to Children's Literature. She was known as a writer of wild fantasy, Gothic novels and short stories.

She was born in Rye, East Sussex, into a family of writers, including her father, Conrad Aiken (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry), and her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge. She worked for the United Nations Information Office during the second world war, and then as an editor and freelance on Argosy magazine before she started writing full time, mainly children's books and thrillers. For her books she received the Guardian Award (1969) and the Edgar Allan Poe Award (1972).

Her most popular series, the "Wolves Chronicles" which began with The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, was set in an elaborate alternate period of history in a Britain in which James II was never deposed in the Glorious Revolution,and so supporters of the House of Hanover continually plot to overthrow the Stuart Kings. These books also feature cockney urchin heroine Dido Twite and her adventures and travels all over the world.

Another series of children's books about Arabel and her raven Mortimer are illustrated by Quentin Blake, and have been shown on the BBC as Jackanory and drama series. Others including the much loved Necklace of Raindrops and award winning Kingdom Under the Sea are illustrated by Jan Pieńkowski.

Her many novels for adults include several that continue or complement novels by Jane Austen. These include Mansfield Revisited and Jane Fairfax.

Aiken was a lifelong fan of ghost stories. She set her adult supernatural novel The Haunting of Lamb House at Lamb House in Rye (now a National Trust property). This ghost story recounts in fictional form an alleged haunting experienced by two former residents of the house, Henry James and E. F. Benson, both of whom also wrote ghost stories. Aiken's father, Conrad Aiken, also authored a small number of notable ghost stories. (Goodreads)

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  1. Very cool. Her take on Jane Austen characters would also be fun to explore.

  2. I've never read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase though I promise myself I will do every time I watch the film. Perhaps your posting this today is a sign that I really must get around to buying a copy of the book.

  3. Hi there Michelle! Ooooh I need to join you for this! It was only brought to my attention a couple of minutes ago.
    I will try my best to get my Mommy to partake tomorrow! If not, hopefully next Thursday. This is simply marvelous.

    Elza Reads

    1. Tell your Mommy we would love to have her...and you! =^..^=

  4. Dear Michelle, I'd need your help. Many years ago, I read in one book a lovely short story by Joan Aiken, about a little homeless black kitten (by the name of Neru?) living in a sewage pipe in Venice, Italy, who fell in love with the music by a young Italian violinist (Thomas) living in a nearby attic. Unfortunately I did not take a note of the title of the story, and now, being a retired professor, I simply could not find it any more. Could you help me with that? (One interesting detail in the story was that the black kitten would usually hold a concert on the railings of a bridge, and he and his other cat friends would take turns shrieking:))

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