Diana Wynne Jones Books

Diana Wynne Jones was an English author who wrote principally in the fantasy genre. She wrote for both young people and adults, and was consistently successful from her early years in the 1970s until her death from lung cancer in 2011. Jones also wrote small amounts of non-fiction, as well as a few plays.

Order of Chrestomanci Series

# Read Title Published
1 Charmed Life 1977
2 The Magicians of Caprona 1980
3 Witch Week 1982
4 The Lives of Christopher Chant 1988
5 Conrad's Fate 2005
6 The Pinhoe Egg 2006

Order of Derkholm Series

# Read Title Published
1 Dark Lord of Derkholm 1998
2 Year of the Griffin 2000

Order of Diana Wynne Jones Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published
1 The Tough Guide to Fantasyland 1996
2 Reflections 2012

Order of Diana Wynne Jones Picture Books

# Read Title Published
1 Who Got Rid of Angus Flint? 1978
2 Yes Dear 1992

Order of Diana Wynne Jones Short Story Collections

Order of Diana Wynne Jones Standalone Novels

Order of Howl's Moving Castle Series

# Read Title Published
1 Howl's Moving Castle 1986
2 Castle in the Air 1990
3 House of Many Ways 2008

Order of Magids Series

# Read Title Published
1 Deep Secret 1997
2 The Merlin Conspiracy 2003

Order of The Dalemark Quartet Series

# Read Title Published
1 Cart and Cwidder 1975
2 Drowned Ammet 1977
3 The Spellcoats 1979
4 The Crown of Dalemark 1993


# Read Title Published
1 Hidden Turnings 1989
2 Fantasy Stories 1994
3 Spellbound 1995
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Diana Wynne Jones is best known today for her 1986 fantasy novel Howl’s Moving Castle, which was initially quietly received but which reached a huge audience after being made into a successful animated movie by Studio Ghibli. This was a standalone work, but she also enjoyed great success with several series, including the seven-book Christomanci saga and several collections of short stories.


Throughout her career, Diana Wynne Jones enjoyed critical success, which led to her winning several prestigious awards. Among these were the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 1978, which she received for the first Christomanci book, Charmed Life. The final book in the same series, The Crown of Dalemark, won the Mythopoeic Prize for fantasy writing in 1996, and Jones was awarded the prize again three years later for her parodic fantasy novel The Dark Lord of Derkholm.

In 2007, Jones was honored with the Life Achievement award from the World Fantasy Convention. As well as these award wins, Jones was frequently nominated for other prizes; she was a four-time finalist for the Mythopoeic Prize, while The Tough Guide to Fantasyland was nominated for a Hugo Award.


One of Jones’ books has been adapted for the big screen: Howl’s Moving Castle. Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli was impressed by the book, at that time relatively little known beyond genre readers, and made it into a full-length animated feature that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2005. The movie was dubbed from its original Japanese into English, with Emily Mortimer, Christian Bale and Jean Simmons starring roles.

Jones’ young adult novel Archer’s Goon, later cited by Neil Gaiman as being a favorite book of his, was produced by the BBC as a six-part TV adaptation in 1992.


Three of the books by Diana Wynne Jones that make great places to start dipping into her writing are:

Howl’s Moving Castle: Although many people will know it only from the movie, the original novel is a wonderful way into Jones’ magical world. The story of Sophie, an orphaned young woman coming to terms with growing up in a land where fairytales are real, has a number of differences from the movie. Magic is at the heart of this tale, especially in the complex and fascinating relationship between Sophie and the powerful, apparently evil wizard Howl. Readers are likely to be gripped by the way the story twists and turns, with every page bringing a new perspective on events and personalities. Unlike the film, the book itself never won a major award, but its legions of devoted fans haven’t let that bother them.

Charmed Life is the start of the Christomanci sequence, but makes a very good read on its own. This book shares with Howl’s Moving Castle a central hero who has unusual and sometimes disturbing gifts and must search for the answer to who she truly is. Cat Chant, who like Sophie is an orphan, has an attractively flawed personality – gullible and often seemingly all at sea in the real world – that makes him easy to identify with. As the story goes on, it becomes clear that what Cat is really running away from is his own destiny. Jones’ Guardian Children’s Fiction Award for Charmed Life was the first major literary prize she had won, and all her gifts in creating a believable yet very alien fantasy landscape are on show here.

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland
is a very different work, but one that is seized on by fans of the fantasy genre who are jaded by the same old tropes being used again and again. In this book, produced as a cross between a spoof guidebook and a Dungeons & Dragons glossary, Jones guides readers – as potential visitors to Fantasyland – through a world where sporting contests largely consist of fighting, and explains why Dark Lords are everywhere but Dark Ladies are virtually unknown. Jones’ tone is deliciously tongue-in-cheek throughout the book, allowing her to avoid the charge of undermining her own more serious books. Its Hugo nomination was a fitting reward for a book that has become a classic of the spoof guidebook genre.