Related to: 'The Kingdom and the Cave'

Virago

The Gift Giving: Favourite Stories

Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey
Contributors:
Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey

Joan Aiken is justly famous for her Wolves of Willoughby Chase series of novels, but her greatest love was for short stories, which she wrote prolifically throughout her long career: 'Favourite stories, like unexpected presents, are things that you can keep and cherish all your life, carry with you, in memory, in your mind's ear, and bring out, at any time, when you are feeling lonely, or need cheering up, or, like friends, just because you are fond of them.' From a princess who turned into a pirate parrot, to a procession of Father Christmases being chased down Fifth Avenue by a rackety horse and cart; from the ghost of a crusader's dog, to a captured mermaid in a flying machine, there is something for everybody in this enthralling collection. These stories showcase Aiken's unique talents - the way she mixed magic and myth with humour to create a kind of modern fairytale. Her stories will appeal to readers of all ages for many years to come.

Virago

The Serial Garden

Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey
Contributors:
Joan Aiken, Peter Bailey

'I wish we'll have two children called Mark and Harriet. And I hope lots of interesting and unusual things will happen to them. It would be nice if they had a fairy godmother, for instance. And a phoenix or something out of the ordinary for a pet. We could have a special day for interesting and unusual things to happen - say, Mondays. But not always Mondays, and not only Mondays, or that would get a bit dull'As a result of their mother's honeymoon wish, Mark and Harriet Armitage have a fairy godmother, a pet unicorn, and are prepared for anything life can throw at them (especially, but not always, on a Monday): hatching griffins in the airing cupboard, Latin lessons with a ghost, furious Furies on the doorstep, and an enchanted garden locked inside a cereal packet. Life with the Armitages can be magical, funny, terrifying - but never, ever dull.

Brandon T. Snider

BRANDON T. SNIDER writes books about Transformers, Minions and even Batman! When he's not writing superhero stories, he's either on TV or eating as much cheese as possible in order to unlock cheese-related superpowers-which is not working.

Catherynne M. Valente

Catherynne M. Valente is the New York Times bestselling author of over two dozen works of fiction and poetry, including Palimpsest, the Orphan's Tales series, Deathless and the crowdfunded phenomenon The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. She is the winner of the Andre Norton, Tiptree, Mythopoeic, Rhysling, Lambda, Locus and Hugo awards. She has been a finalist for the Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. She lives on an island off the coast of Maine with a small but growing menagerie of beasts, some of which are human.

Colby Sharp

Colby Sharp is a co-founder of the online community Nerdy Book Club and its off-shoot conference, Nerd Camp, two popular monthly Twitter chats, #Titletalk, #SharpSchu, and The Yarn, a podcast about bookmaking and the creative process.

Daphne Du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier (1907-89) was born in London, the daughter of the famous actor-manager Sir Gerald du Maurier and granddaughter of George du Maurier, the author and artist. In 1931 her first novel, The Loving Spirit, was published. A biography of her father and three other novels followed, but it was the novel Rebecca that launched her into the literary stratosphere and made her one of the most popular authors of her day. In 1932, du Maurier married Major Frederick Browning, with whom she had three children.Many of du Maurier's bestselling novels and short stories were adapted into award-winning films, including Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now. In 1969 du Maurier was awarded a DBE. She lived most of her life in Cornwall, the setting for many of her books.

Dave Bardin

DAVE BARDIN is an illustrator by day and, well, night too. When he's not drawing in his Stronghold of Seclusion he patrols the streets, protecting the innocent and vanquishing evil. Strangely, the source of his powers is also his one weakness--MASHED POTATOES!

E. Nesbit

Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) is perhaps most famous for writing The Railway Children and Five Children and It, but she was extremely prolific and wrote or collaborated on more than sixty children's books. Nesbit is today recognised as one of the most influential and innovative children's writers that ever lived, and is cited as an inspiration by many contemporary authors, including J. K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman, Jacqueline Wilson, Kate Saunders and Frank Cottrell-Boyce. Even C. S. Lewis acknowledged the debt his Narnia series owed to her work - particularly the Bastable and Psammead trilogies.

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett was born in Manchester, England, in 1849 but moved to America in 1865 after her father died and her family fell on hard times. There she began writing stories to earn money and soon became a successful novelist, playwright, and children's author. She wrote the classic novels, Little Lord Fauntleroy, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden.

Honest Lee

Honest Lee is a liar! You can't trust a thing he writes. He insists that his stories are true. And they're totally not! Then again, I could be Honest Lee, which would mean I'm lying and my stories are true. What's the truth? I have no idea. Honestly.

Joan Aiken

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.

Karen Harrington

Karen Harrington was born in Texas, where she still lives with her husband and children. She is the author of Sure Signs of Crazy and Courage for Beginners. You can visit her karenharringtonbooks.com. -

Kent Clark

KENT CLARK is a superhero by day, and a writer by night. When he's not getting cats out of trees or saving the world from monstrous alien supervillains, he's reading a book. He also has a terrible weakness-he can't say no to tacos, comic books, or video games.

L. M. Montgomery

L. M. Montgomery was born in 1874 on Prince Edward Island, Canada, where she spent her childhood living with her grandparents in an old farmhouse. A prolific writer, she published many short stories, poems and novels, many of which were inspired by the years she spent on the beautiful Prince Edward Island. Anne of Green Gables and its sequels have always been amongst the most popular of children's classics. Montgomery died in Toronto in 1942 and was buried on her beloved island.

Matt Christopher

Matt Christopher is the beloved and bestselling name behind more than 100 sports-themed books for young readers.

Matthew J. Gilbert

Matthew J. Gilbert is one of many Matthew Gilberts. Seriously. There's like a trillion of them. This particular Matthew Gilbert writes stories and has a nearly perfect mustache. When he's not writing about Classroom 13, he's watching monster movies, eating tacos, and singing made-up songs about his cats.

Michael Powell

Michael Powell is the author of numerous naughty, disgusting yet strangely educational children's books. He lives in Somerset.Trevor Dunton is still the same as was across the page, but will soon also be famed as the illustrator for the bestselling Joke Shop.

Nina Bawden

Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.

Peter Brown

Peter Brown is the author and illustrator of many bestselling children's books, including Children Make Terrible Pets and The Curious Garden. He is the recipient of a Caldecott Honor for Creepy Carrots!, two E.B. White Read Aloud Awards, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book award, and a Children's Choice Award for Illustrator of the Year.

Rumer Godden

Rumer Godden (1907-98) was the acclaimed author of over sixty works of fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Born in England, she and her siblings grew up in Narayanganj, India, and she later spent many years living in Calcutta and Kashmir. Several of her novels were made into films, including Black Narcissus, The Greengage Summer and The River, which was filmed by Jean Renoir. She was appointed OBE in 1993.