Spook’s series author Joseph Delaney dies of unknown illness aged 77

Spook's series author Joseph Delaney dies of unknown illness aged 77. Image: Puffin Books/Twitter

TRIBUTES flooded social media on Thursday, August 18 following the news that Spook’s series author Joseph Delaney had died aged 77.

According to publisher Penguin Random House, on behalf of Joseph Delaney’s family, the author of the popular Spook’s fantasy book died on Tuesday, August 16 “after an illness, which, in his indomitable style, he kept to himself and his family so he could carry on with writing as much as he possibly could.”

Fans of the writer’s work paid tribute on social media.

Lancashire Libraries wrote on Twitter: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Joseph Delaney. He was a fantastic and passionate advocate for libraries in Lancashire and beyond. He will be dearly missed. Our sincere condolences to his family.”

One fan wrote: “My favourite author, Joseph Delaney, passed away recently. I’d like to thank him for everything he’s ever done for me without knowing it. His books kept me company when nobody else would. When I realised my best friend stopped liking me, I held on to his books and his characters who made me feel like home.

“Tom, Alice, Spook, Jenny, Mab, Bill, Mam, Grimalkin, Thorne. All of them had something that made me feel like home. Rest in peace Joseph. You’ll be missed.”

Puffin Books wrote: “With much sadness, the family of master storyteller, Joseph Delaney, confirm that he passed away aged 77 on 16th August. Joe is best known for the Spook’s series, including The Spook’s Apprentice.

“Ruth Knowles, Publishing Director for Puffin: “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 seven of the years of his career. 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 proud to publish him.”

Author William Hussey wrote: “I’ve just learned that the wonderful Joseph Delaney of SPOOK’S APPRENTICE fame has passed away. One of the kindest, gentlest souls, and a simply phenomenal writer. He was so kind to me when I started out as a children’s author all those years ago. Sleep well, dear Joe xx”

“Beyond heartbroken to hear of the passing of my favourite author of all, Joseph Delaney. Whilst everyone else was reading the usual suspects, I was spending my childhood engrossed in his Wardstone Chronicles. It was a dream of mine to meet him. My heart goes out to his family. 💔

“I spent so much time collecting these rare collectors and limited editions of his series and I will continue to cherish them for the rest of my life. So sad today. 💔” John R Moore wrote.

Delaney started his career as a teacher and first published under the pseudonym J. K. Haderack before later writing under his real name.

The international success of The Spook’s Apprentice led the author from Preston (UK) to publish 19 books as part of the series.

He also wrote several books which take place in the same universe.

The success of the entire series led to the feature film Seventh Son starring Kit Harrington, Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, and Julianne Moore. The film was based on series’ first book, The Spook’s Apprentice.

Delany also wrote two other dark fantasy series: Arena 13 and Aberrations.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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