As a child
Jan was born in Hertfordshire during the Second World War. She would have been born in London, but her mother had been evacuated. She moved around a lot as a child, but ended up settling in Oxford.
As an artist
Jan, who died in January 2006, was one of the most distinguished authors of books for young people. She was twice awarded the Carnegie Medal and also won the Penguin Guardian Award, the Observer Teenage Fiction Prize and the Angel Award for Fiction. Her many titles include Thunder and Lightnings, Lady Long Legs and The Snow Maze. The Museum Book, Jan's last completed work was published by Walker Books in 2007.