Jan Mark was born in Welwyn, Hertfordshire in 1943. She grew up in North London and Kent. She was educated at the Ashford County Grammar School and the Canterbury College of Art. She became a teacher at a North Kent secondary school and started writing in 1974. In the early 1980s Jan became Writer in Residence in the education department of the Oxford Polytechnic, now called Oxford Brookes University, and went on to write over 50 novels, plays and short stories. She is best known for her children's books and won the Carnegie Medal in 1976 for Thunder and Lightnings and for Handles in 1983. She died in 2006.