Joan Aiken (1924-2004) was born in Rye, Sussex. She was the daughter of the American poet Conrad Aiken, and her step-father was English writer Martin Armstrong. Joan Aiken wrote over 100 books for young readers and adults and is recognised as one of the classic children's authors of the twentieth century. Her best-known books are The Wolves of Willoughby Chase chronicles and the Arabel's Raven series, but she is also famous for her brilliant short stories. Joan Aiken received the Edgar Allan Poe Award in the United States as well as the Guardian Award for Fiction. She was decorated with an MBE for her services to children's books.