Beloved British author Lynne Reid Banks dies aged 94

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Writer Lynne Reid Banks, known for her children’s book “The Indian in the Cupboard” has died at the age of 94 from cancer, “peacefully with her family around her,” her agent James Wils has said.

Born in London on 31 July 1929, Banks was evacuated to Saskatoon in Canada during the Second World War. Upon her return to England, she trained as an actor before becoming one of the first female television journalists in Britain as a news reporter at ITN.

As a novelist, she published prolifically, with her most successful book “The L-Shaped Room” released in 1960. “The L-Shaped Room” was later adapted in 1962 into a film by Bryan Forbes with lead actress Leslie Caron winning awards at the Golden Globes and BAFTAs, as well as an Oscar nomination.

She lived in Israel between 1962 and 1971 where she married her husband Chaim Stephenson. Back in the UK, she embarked on a career as a children’s author.

Banks’ first children’s novel was “The Farthest-Away Mountain” released in 1976. She soon followed that up with her most enduringly popular children’s book, “The Indian in the Cupboard” in 1980 which was followed by four sequels.

The five books follow the story of Omri, a young boy who finds a magical cupboard that can turn his toys into real living beings. The novels were critically lauded, even if they have been criticised for their depiction of Native Americans.

Banks also wrote a biography of the Brontë family, titled “Dark Quartet” and a sequel about Charlotte Brontë, “Path to the Silent Country”.

According to her son Gillon Stephenson, Banks “leaves a massive legacy of wonderful work”, adding that every day he “receives messages from people saying what a difference she has made.”

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