Mark, Jan 1943–2006

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Mark, Jan 1943–2006

(Janet Marjorie Mark)

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 22, 1943, in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, England; died January 16, 2006. Author. Mark was a two-time Carnegie Medal-winning author of stories for children who wrote for all ages, including novels for adults. She was interested in writing from a young age, and when she was just fifteen years old she entered a writing competition for the Daily Mirror and won second place. She earned a degree from the Canterbury College of Art in 1965 and then embarked on a teaching career. Teaching English and art at Southfields School in Kent until 1971, she left that occupation to focus on her family. When the publisher Kestrel Books established the Guardian Award for best children's book by a new talent, however, Mark could not resist submitting an entry. Her Thunder and Lightnings (1976) won the competition handily, as well as the Carnegie, and thus began what would be a prolific career. Mark found that she could write everything from picture books for young children to young adult titles and from short stories to adult novels with great success. She also wrote science fiction, including the trilogy comprised of The Ennead (1978), Divide and Rule (1979), and Aquarius (1982). In addition, Mark was versatile in the type of stories she wrote, with critics labeling some of her books as having very bleak moods, while others have been more lighthearted and witty; furthermore, she received praise for her strong characterizations and depictions of human relationships. Among her more recent titles, too, are the adult novels The Eclipse of the Century (1999) and Useful Idiots (2004). Also earning a Carnegie Medal for Handles (1983), Mark won many other honors over the years. Concerned about the state of children's literature and its seeming continued lack of respect from critics, she also earned praise for editing The Oxford Book of Children's Stories (1993).



Times (London, England), January 23, 2006, p. 53.