Eva Ibbotson was born in Vienna in 1925 and moved to England with her father when the Nazis came to power. She wrote more than twenty books for children and young adults, many of which garnered nominations for major awards for children's literature in the UK, including the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the Whitbread Prize. Imaginative and humorous, Eva's books often convey her love of nature, in particular the Austrian countryside, which is evident in works such as The Star of Kazan and A Song for Summer. Eva passed away at her home in Newcastle on 20 October 2010. Her final book, One Boy and His Dog, was published in May 2011.
This year (thanks to a recommendation by Ella Risbridger on Instagram, of all places) I have binged on Eva Ibbotson, not her children's books, but her elegantly written, witty and well-observed if (after a few) formulaic fables of emigrees with beautiful burnished hair fallen on hard times. I read one after another, and rather feel your Christmas might be brightened by doing the same. So may I suggest A Song for Summer, followed by The Morning Gift, then The Secret Countess, A Company of Swans, Magic Flutes, Journey to the River Sea, and The Star of Kazan. -- Nigella Lawson * The Sunday Times *