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Jan Mark (22 June 1943 - 16 January 2006) was a British author, best known as a writer for children. She was christened Janet Marjorie Brisland in Welwyn Garden City in 1943 and was raised and educated in Kent. She was a secondary school teacher between 1965 and 1971, and became a full-time writer in 1974. She wrote over fifty novels and plays and many anthologized short stories. She was divorced, and is survived by her daughter Isobel. Her son Alex took his own life 8 months after her death. She won the Carnegie Medal for Thunder and Lightnings (1976) and for Handles (1983).

She is known for her acutely-observed short stories which are concise and show an imaginative use of language. She also wrote novels about seemingly ordinary children in contemporary settings, e.g. Thunder and Lightnings, as well as science fiction novels set in their own universes with their own rules, e.g. The Ennead. Her last works include the young adult novels The Eclipse of the Century and Useful Idiots.

The title of Thunder and Lightnings, a story set in rural Norfolk, is a reference to the British RAF jet fighter the English Electric Lightning and in turn inspired the name of a website of the history of that aeroplane and others of a similar time.[1]

Jan Mark was popular in Flanders, Belgium, where she participated in an educational project to stimulate teachers of English into using teenage fiction in the classroom. Her Flemish friends devoted a website to her and to her work. [2]

Jan Mark died suddenly at her home in Oxford from meningitis-related septicaemia in January 2006.

Selected Bibliography

  • King John and the Abbot (2006) ISBN 978-1-84299-385-9
  • Turbul (2005) ISBN 0-340-86099-5
  • Riding Tycho (2005) ISBN 0-340-91320-7
  • Useful Idiots (2004) ISBN 0-385-75023-4
  • The Eclipse of the Century (1999) ISBN 0-439-01482-4
  • Mr Dickens Hits Town (1999) ISBN 0-88776-468-1
  • The Midas Touch (1999) ISBN 0-7636-0488-7
  • My Frog and I (1997) ISBN 1-903285-97-6
  • The Tale of Tobias (1996) ISBN 1-56402-692-2
  • They Do Things Differently There (1994) ISBN 0-09-941397-3
  • Fun With Mrs Thumb (1993) ISBN 1-56402-247-1
  • Enough Is Too Much Already (1988) ISBN 0-370-31094-2
  • Zeno Was Here (1988) ISBN 0-374-29664-2
  • Fun (1988) ISBN 0-670-82457-7
  • Trouble Half-way (1986) ISBN 0-689-31210-5
  • Fur (1986) ISBN 0-7445-0478-3
  • Handles (1985) ISBN 0-689-31140-0
  • Feet and Other Stories (1983) ISBN 0-7226-5839-7
  • Aquarius (1982) ISBN 0-689-31051-X
  • The Dead Letter Box (1982) ISBN 0-241-10804-7
  • Nothing To Be Afraid Of (1981) ISBN 0-06-024087-3
  • Hairs in the palm of the hand (1981) ISBN 0-7226-5728-5
  • Divide and Rule (1980) ISBN 0-690-04012-1
  • The Ennead (1978) ISBN 0-690-03872-0
  • Under the Autumn Garden (1977) ISBN 0-7226-5347-6
  • Thunder and Lightnings (1976) ISBN 0-690-03901-8


  • [3] Obituary in The Guardian
  • [4] Obituary in The Times
  • [5] Obituary by Nicholas Tucker in The Independent

External links

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