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RIP Lois Duncan

170945I was sorry to hear about Lois Duncan’s death yesterday. Lois had been writing for young people for a long time–her first novel, Debutante Hill, was published in 1958 (and republished in 2013 by Lizzie Skurnick Books). She is someone whose work I always point towards as a reminder that YA fiction did not begin with The Outsiders. My favorite Duncan YA–read when I actually was a YA–is Ransom, first published in 1966, retitled Five Were Missing for paperback when I read it in 1972, and now available as an e-book from Open Road, who, hilariously, have tossed in a couple of references to cell phones to make the book seem new, although other references to the “swarthy” bad guy remind us that the book was written fifty years ago. It’s still great.

I interviewed Duncan for SLJ  on the occasion of her winning the Margaret Edwards Award in 1992. It begins as a lively enough discussion of her career then moves into X-Files territory by the end. Maybe she has some answers now.

[Edited to add PW’s excellent obituary.

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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Comments

  1. I was so sorry to hear about this. She was amazing. May I propose that absolutely no one purchase the Open Road editions in e- or print (Duncan threw in the references herself, not them), because they are terrible and also insulting to teens? They were dated when I read them in the early 00s and I wasn’t going to throw them across the room just because no one in my social circles was “going out for a Coke.” It’s much more offensive to have characters say things like “Hello, can I have an internet, please?” and think that teenagers aren’t going to see through the pandering.

    But yes. She was amazing. So much yes. There is a fantastic Jezebel piece on her as well.

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