Preston children’s author dies aged 77

Posted on - 19th August, 2022 - 9:17am | Author - | Posted in - Preston News
Joseph Delaney
Joseph Delaney

The family of Joseph Delaney announced his death on Tuesday 16th August at the age of 77 following an illness, leaving behind his second wife, Rani, (his first wife Marie died in 2007), two sons and a daughter, and his grandchildren.

While getting his A-levels at night school, Joe worked as an apprentice engineer and fitter and went on to become a teacher.

He enjoyed writing children’s books and went on to publish The Spook’s Apprentice in 2004.

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After leaving teaching he went on to write 12 more books in his globally bestselling dark fantasy series, The Wardstone Chronicles, and 17 other books.

The books have been translated into thirty languages and won many awards including the Lancashire Book Award.

In 2014, The Spook’s Apprentice was made into a movie called The Seventh Son starring Ben Barnes, Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges. Joe got to go to Canada to watch the filming, which he absolutely loved.

He travelled widely to promote his books, spending lots of the winter in New Zealand and Singapore, as he hated the cold, but most of his time was spent in his home county Lancashire – a place embedded in all of his writing.

Joe was writing right up until the end of his life and was about to embark on the next round of edits for the fourth in his Brother Wulf sequence.

His books have now sold more than 4.5 million copies around the world.

Joe’s children Joanne, Paul and Stephen said: “Dad loved writing and lived his dream over the last eighteen years as an author published by Random House and Penguin.

“His imagination was boundless, and he could have kept creating new and exciting stories for years to come. He enjoyed meeting fans throughout the world and hearing their thoughts on his books.

“We are very proud of what he achieved. There is a great deal of Dad in his writing, and we see that on every page. When we were young children, Dad would tell us very scary stories that should not have been told after dark! We are so fortunate to have those memories.

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“He was a wonderful dad and a deeply caring man with an infectious sense of humour, especially after a glass of red wine.

“We hope that his books will inspire children and adults to create stories and live dreams of their own. That would have made him happy.

“We would like to thank Penguin Random House as well as all the wonderful people who helped him on his adventure and especially everyone who has read his books.”

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Ruth Knowles, Publishing Director for Puffin said: “The Spook’s Apprentice was first published just before I joined Random House Children’s Books (now Penguin Random House Children’s) and so Joe and his totally unique blend of fantasy-horror have been a part of my entire working life.

“I was so proud to have been his editor for many years. It was frustrating at times – we would meet for a beer in Manchester and in response to my questions he would simply smile and remind me every time that he followed ‘The Bram Stoker’ method of writing (meaning nothing was ever planned or plotted in advance!) so I would have to wait for answers – but it was also of course completely magical as the creatures and characters from his worlds would slowly come into focus, journeying into brilliantly terrifying adventures.

“I hope he’s with the ghosts of his beloved Lancashire now and that there’s some delicious red wine on tap. We are so very proud to publish him.”

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