Driving home from work today I heard a career profile on NPR on the author Lloyd Alexander. It was nicely done, and it reminded me a lot of how much I loved his books as a little kid. The Prydain Chronicles was probably the first series I was ever obsessed with and it's certainly a big part of why I came to love fantasy fiction. I wasn't sure why they were doing a profile on Alexander, but I had my suspicions. And they were confirmed here. He died Thursday of cancer, at the age of 83, leaving behind some 20 odd books that contribute brilliantly to children's literature and fantasy literature.
I actually saw him once as a little whippersnapper. He gave a reading at a children's bookstore in DC, a place called the Chesire Cat. Graying hair, a kind, wrinkled face and a tweed jacket with patches on the elbows, he looked every bit the writer. I've always wondered if that was how he really dressed or just an outfit to portray a particular image. I remember he read well and he handled all the questions from the 4-12 year olds in the crowd with a nice sense of humor. You writers who read in front of adults have it easy...these kids were tough. When they asked a question they wanted an answer, dammit.
I think I may need to go back and re-read those stories again. It's been years, and it would be a good summertime project.