Eva Ibbotson (born 21 January 1925) is an Austrian-born British novelist. She is known for her award-winning children's books and for her romance novels, which have been marketed to both a young adult and adult readership.
Eva Ibbotson was born Maria Charlotte Michelle Wiesner in Vienna, Austria, in 1925. Her father, Berthold Wiesner, was a physiologist and her mother, Anna Gmeyner, a writer. Her parents separated in 1928 and after remaining in Vienna in a church orphanage she joined her father, a Jew who had left Austria to work in Scotland just before Hitler and the Nazi party came into power.
She was educated at Dartington Hall School; attended Bedford College, London, graduating in 1945; Cambridge University from 1946—47; and the University of Durham, from which she graduated with a diploma in education in 1965.
Ibbotson had intended to be a physiologist, but was put off by the amount of animal testing that she would have to do. Instead, she married and raised a family, returning to school to become a teacher in the 1960s.
Ibbotson is widowed with three sons and a daughter. She has written many children's books.
Ibbotson began writing with the television drama Linda Came Today, in 1965. Ten years later, in 1975, she published her first novel, The Great Ghost Rescue.
Ibbotson has written numerous books including The Secret of Platform 13, The Star of Kazan, Journey to the River Sea, Which Witch?, Island of the Aunts, and Dial-a-Ghost. She won the NestlÚ Smarties Book Prize for Journey to the River Sea, and has been a runner up for many of major awards for British children's literature. The books are imaginative and humorous, and most of them feature magical creatures and places, despite the fact that she disliked thinking about the supernatural, and created the characters because she wanted to decrease her readers' fear of such things. Some of the books, particularly Journey to the River Sea, also reflect Ibbotson's love of nature. Ibbotson wrote this book in honor of her husband (who had died just before she wrote it), a former naturalist. The book had been in her head for years before she actually wrote it. Ibbotson said she dislikes "financial greed and a lust for power" and often creates antagonists in her books who have these characteristics.
Her love of Austria is evident in works such as The Star of Kazan, A Song For Summer & Magic Flutes / The Reluctant Heiress. These books, set primarily in the Austrian countryside, display the author's love for nature and all things natural.
Ibbotson's non-children's books have been classified both as Young Adult titles and as romances. In an interview, she referred to them as books for adults. Several of these books have been published in other languages with different titles.
Her Books for Young Adults/Adults include:
The Secret Countess (originally published as 'A Countess Below Stairs')
The Morning Gift
A Company of Swans
A Song For Summer
Magic Flutes (in some editions published as 'The Reluctant Heiress')
The Secret of Platform 13
The similarity of "Platform 9 3/4" in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books to Ibbotson's The Secret of Platform 13, which came out three years before the first Harry Potter book, has been commented on. Amanda Craig is one example of a journalist who has written about the similarities: "Ibbotson would seem to have at least as good a case for claiming plagiarism as the American author currently suing J. K. Rowling [Nancy Stouffer], but unlike her, Ibbotson says she would 'like to shake her by the hand. I think we all borrow from each other as writers'." See Harry Potter influences and analogues.
Eva Ibbotson has written numerous books, and in 2008 had 2 books published, one of which was a re-release of a past novel.
The Great Ghost Rescue (1975)
Which Witch? (1979)
The Worm & the Toffee Nosed Princess (1983)
The Haunting of Hiram C. Hopgood (1987)
Not Just a Witch (1989)
The Secret of Platform 13 (1994)
Monster Mission (1999)
Island of the Aunts (2000 - a re-titling of Monster Mission)
Journey to the River Sea (2001)
The Haunting of Granite Falls (2004 - a re-titling of The Haunting of Hiram C. Hopgood)
The Star of Kazan (2004)
The Beasts of Clawstone Castle (2005)
The Haunting of Hiram (2008)
The Dragonfly Pool (2008)
A Countess Below Stairs (1981, reissued as The Secret Countess in 2007)
Magic Flutes (1982, reissued as The Reluctant Heiress in May 2009)
A Company of Swans (1985)
Madensky Square (1988)
A Glove Shop in Vienna and other Stories (1992)
The Morning Gift (1993)
A Song for Summer (1997)
Carnegie Medal shortlist, British Library Association, 1978, for Which Witch?, and 2001, for Journey to the River Sea; Best Romantic Novel of the Year Published in England, Romantic Novelists Association, 1983, for Magic Flutes; Smarties Prize Shortlist, and Best Books designation, School Library Journal, 1998, for The Secret of Platform 13; Guardian Children's Fiction Award runner-up, and Whitbread Children's Book of the Year award shortlist, and Smarties Prize shortlist, all 2001, all for Journey to the River Sea. The Star of Kazan was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2005.
Film and television
In 1965, Ibbotson wrote Linda Came Today for television; in 1978, she also wrote Der Gro▀e Karpfen Ferdinand und andere Weihnachtsgeschichten for German television.
Currently, Enda Walsh is adapting Island of the Aunts for a feature film. An adaptation of The Great Ghost Rescue is also in production, and Gail Gilchriest is adapting The Haunting of Hiram C. Hopgood.