Entertainment & Arts

Author Russell Hoban dies aged 86

Russell Hoban
Image caption Russell Hoban's last title, Angelica Lost and Found, was published last year

Cult author Russell Hoban, who was best known for writing the science fiction novel Riddley Walker, has died aged 86, his publisher has announced.

A Bloomsbury spokeswoman said: "We are very saddened by the news that this much-loved and hugely treasured author has died."

Hoban was also known for children's books including The Mouse and His Child and the Frances The Badger series.

"Writing was my father's life," Phoebe Hoban told the New York Times.

He began writing children's books in the late 1950s, with his first title, What Does it Do and How Does it Work, published in 1959.

Born in Pennsylvania in 1925, he eventually moved to London, where he remained for more than 30 years.


Although he won the Whitbread prize for the children's book How Tom Beat Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen in 1974, latterly Hoban chose to concentrate on adult fiction.

His other titles included Turtle Diary, which was adapted for film by Harold Pinter, Angelica's Grotto, The Bat Tattoo and Her Name Was Lola.

His last title, Angelica Lost and Found, was published last year.

Hoban's first editor Liz Calder paid tribute to the writer calling him an "absolute one-off and a delight to know".

His current editor, Bill Swainson, called him a "shocking, funny and really imaginative" writer.

In an interview in 2002 with the Guardian, Hoban described himself as "simply an addict" to writing.

"If I am kept away from writing, I become physically unwell.

He later went on to suggest that death would be a "good career move".

He added: "People will say, 'yes, Hoban, he seems an interesting writer, let's look at him again'."

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