News obit: Children’s book author William E. ‘Bill’ Britain, whose ‘The Wish Giver’ was a Newberry Honor Book


Asheville resident Bill Brittain died Dec. 16. He was 81. From his Asheville Citizen-Times obituary:

William E. Brittain of Weaverville, 81, died December 16, 2011. Born in Rochester, NY, Bill earned degrees from SUNY Brockport and Hofstra. In 1954 he married Virginia Connorton, and they moved to Long Island, where he taught English and later became a reading specialist at Lawrence Middle School. An acclaimed author, Bill published over 70 mystery short stories and wrote 13 children’s books, one of which won a Newbery Honor Award.

After moving to Asheville in 1986, Bill spoke about writing at many local schools, as well as making national appearances. He was a popular instructor at UNCA’s College for Seniors from 1993 to 2010. Bill and Ginny loved to travel, visiting many places in the U.S. and Canada, as well as many European countries.

From the Wikipedia entry on Brittain:

William E. “Bill” Brittain (born December 16, 1930 in Rochester, New York, died December 16, 2011) was an American author most famous for his writings of the fictional New England village of Coven Tree, including The Wish Giver, a Newbery Honor Book. Bill decided he wanted to be a 5th-grade teacher, and in addition to teaching, used to read stories in mystery magazines. After some time, he decided he could do as good a job at writing as some of the authors he read; he got coaching on writing from Frederic Dannay of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (in which, along with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, most of his mystery stories were published) .He wrote two serials from 1964 to 1983, as well as other stories, before moving on to the children’s books for which he is better known.
Brittain is also the author of the popular book All the Money in the World, which was adapted into a 1983 movie.