Joan Delano Aiken (4 September 1924 – 4 January 2004) was an English novelist. She was born in Rye, East Sussex, into a family of writers, including her father, American poet Conrad Aiken (who won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry), her sister, Jane Aiken Hodge and her brother John Aiken (with her siblings, Joan Aiken authored Conrad Aiken Remembered (1989), a short, subtle appreciation of their complex and difficult father). Joan's mother, Canadian-born Jessie MacDonald, a Masters graduate from Radcliffe College, married English writer Martin Armstrong soon after Conrad Aiken separated from her.
Joan Aiken was at first taught at home by her mother, and later educated at Wychwood School, Oxford, between 1936 and 1940; she did not attend university. She had written stories from an early age, and in her early twenties she had her first stories broadcast by the BBC, where she had been employed in 1942–43. In 1945 she married Ronald George Brown, a journalist working for the United Nations Information Office and they had two children; he died in 1955. She married New York painter Julius Goldstein in 1976; he died in 2001.
Aiken worked for the United Nations Information Office in London from 1943 to 1949, and after her husband's death joined the magazine Argosy where she worked in various editorial capacities, and said she learned her trade as a writer. The magazine was one of many where she published her short stories between 1955 to 1960. During this time she also published her first two collections of children's stories, and began work on a children's novel, initially entitled Bonnie Green, which was to be published as The Wolves of Willoughby Chase in 1962. By this time she was able to write full time from home, producing two or three books a year for the rest of her life, mainly children's books and thrillers, but also many articles, introductions and talks on children's literature, and on the work of Jane Austen.
For her books she received the Guardian Award (1969) and the Edgar Allan Poe Award (1972). In 1999 she was awarded an MBE for her services to children's literature.
She died at her home in Petworth, West Sussex, at the age of 79.