Literary Birthday – 21 January – Eva Ibbotson

Eva Ibbotson was born 21 January 1925, and died 20 October 2010.


  1. It’s true that adventures are good for people even when they are very young. Adventures can get in a person’s blood even if he doesn’t remember having them.
  2. Just because we’ve never done it doesn’t mean we can’t do it.
  3. I started as a short-story writer and I was over 40 before I wrote my first full-length book. It was a book for children: The Great Ghost Rescue. Since then I have written children and adult books alternately.
  4. When I get stuck in a book now, I usually try putting an aunt in. I find it difficult to write a book without aunts.
  5. The kind of dichotomy between honour and passion is as old as the hills and I must say getting my heroes out of their dilemmas has sometimes not been easy.
  6. I try to imagine an actual person I am trying to entertain, whether a child or an adult, and write directly to them, rather than to a general reader.
  7. I was always on some large train going about and wishing I had a home.  So when I came to write, consciously or unconsciously I always had to make things right for the hero or the heroine.
  8. Loneliness had taught Harriet that there was always someone who understood – it was just so often that they were dead, and in a book.
  9. You cannot stop the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can stop them nesting in your hair.
  10. One must not judge other cultures by the standards of one’s own.

Eva Ibbotson was an Austrian-born British novelist, known for writing for children She wrote many books including Which Witch?The Secret of Platform 13, and Dial-a-Ghost. She won the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize for Journey to the River Sea.

Amanda Patterson

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 21st January 2014