Jan Mark was born in Welwyn, Herts in 1943. She grew up in Ashford, Kent and attended Canterbury College of Art. She taught in a secondary school in Gravesend for six years, before becoming a full-time writer. Her book THEY DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY THERE was shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Whitbread Children's Award. She won the Carnegie Medal twice, for THUNDER AND LIGHTNINGS and HANDLES, and was a regular reviewer for the Guardian. She sadly died suddenly in January 2006; a huge loss to the world of children's books.