Thursday, October 21, 2010

Author Eva Ibbotson has died - An obituary

Eva Ibbotson was born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner in ViennaAustria, in 1925. Her father, Berthold Wiesner, was a physiologist and her mother, Anna Gmeyner, a writer. Her parents separated in 1928 and after remaining in Vienna in a church orphanage she joined her father, a Jew who had left Austria to work in Scotland just before Hitler and the Nazi party came into power.
She was educated at Dartington Hall School; attended Bedford College, London, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946–47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in education in 1965.
Ibbotson had intended to be a physiologist, but was put off by the amount of animal testing that she would have to do. Instead, she married and raised a family, returning to school to become a teacher in the 1960s.
            Ibbotson began writing with the television drama Linda Came Today, in 1965. Ten years later, in 1975, she published her first novel, The Great Ghost Rescue.
Ibbotson has written numerous books including The Secret of Platform 13The Star of KazanJourney to the River SeaWhich Witch?, Island of the Aunts, and Dial-a-Ghost. She won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for Journey to the River Sea, and has been a runner up for many of major awards for British children's literature. The books are imaginative and humorous, and most of them feature magical creatures and places, despite the fact that she disliked thinking about the supernatural, and created the characters because she wanted to decrease her readers' fear of such things. Some of the books, particularly Journey to the River Sea, also reflect Ibbotson's love of nature. Ibbotson wrote this book in honor of her husband (who had died just before she wrote it), a former naturalist. The book had been in her head for years before she actually wrote it. Ibbotson said she dislikes "financial greed and a lust for power" and often creates antagonists in her books who have these characteristics.
Her love of Austria is evident in works such as The Star of Kazan, A Song For Summer and Magic Flutes / The Reluctant Heiress. These books, set primarily in the Austrian countryside, display the author's love for nature and all things natural.
             Ibbotson's non-children's books have been classified both as Young Adult titles and as romances. In an interview, she referred to them as books for adults. Several of these books have been published in other languages with different titles.
            Eva Ibbotson died in her home in Newcastle, England on October 20th, 2010. Her last book, The Ogre Of Oglefort, was shortlisted for the 2010 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

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