novelist, children's writer, and radio playwright, born in Scarborough and educated at King's College, London. Her first novel, The Enclosure (1961), was published while she was still a student. This was followed by Gentlemen and Ladies (1968); A Change for the Better (1969); I'm the King of the Castle (1970), a powerful evocation of childhood terrors; Strange Meeting (1971); The Birds of Night (1972), which won the Whitbread Award; and In the Springtime of the Year (1974), about bereavement. The Woman in Black (1983) was a successful recreation of the ambience of the Victorian ghost story, later adapted for both the stage and television. Air and Angels (1991) is the story of a middle‐aged academic's passion for a young girl. In 1993 she published Mrs de Winter, a sequel to Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca. Her collections of short stories include The Albatross (1971) and The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read (2003). She has published two autobiographical volumes, The Magic Apple Tree (1982) and Family (1989).