Howl’s Moving Castle

Book 1 of the ‘Moving Castle’ trilogy

Diana Wynne Jones

Illustrated by Marie-Alice Harel

Introduced by Marcus Sedgwick

This fantastical Folio edition of Diana Wynne Jones’s enchanting tale features artwork by Folio’s 2019 Book Illustration Competition winner.

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‘Why it’s Miss Hatter!’ the Witch said, laughing. ‘I never forget a face, particularly if I’ve made it myself!’

A magical union of make-believe and reality, this much-loved young-adult fantasy spirits the reader off to faraway lands with an evil witch, a dashing wizard and an adventurous teenage girl. Folio’s charming new edition celebrates master storyteller Diana Wynne Jones’s creativity, alongside that of Folio’s 2019 Book Illustration Competition winner. Selected from a record-breaking 500 entries from around the world, Marie-Alice Harel re-enchants the fairy-tale tradition with her series of six images created with a lilac-themed palette. Harel also introduces the book’ 21 chapters with delicate black-and-white decorations that offer tantalising clues to the story, while the binding shows heroine Sophie Hatter being magnetically drawn to the gloomy castle of the title, with its mysterious four-fold aspect.

Production Details

Bound in printed and blocked textured paper

Set in Agfa Wile

288 pages

6 colour illustrations, and 21 black & white chapter openings and a title-page spread

Printed endpapers

Printed slipcase

9˝ x 6¼˝ 

The best of fantasy and fairy-tale traditions

Deep in the land of Ingary, the Wizard Howl’s castle hovers above the imaginary town of Market Chipping, terrorising the inhabitants below. Legend has it that the enigmatic wizard lives off the hearts of young girls, but this doesn’t deter 18-year-old Sophie from hitching a ride in the castle. The evil Witch of the Waste has cast a spell and transformed her into a frail old lady, and Howl might be her only hope of reversing the hex.

A quietly accomplished book that became a bestseller

Although beloved by those familiar with Diana Wynne Jones, Howl’s Moving Castle remained largely under the mainstream radar until the book was adapted into an animated film by the world-famous Studio Ghibli. Released in 2004, it broke global box-office records and subsequently catapulted the novel to bestseller status. As the award-winning young-adult novelist Marcus Sedgwick discusses in his newly commissioned introduction, Jones draws on her childhood with wry references to modern life in suburban Wales and enticing hints at her own history. These are cleverly stirred into the mix along with a cloak of invisibility, a talking fire demon and a persistent scarecrow: the everyday detail as engaging as the fantasy box of delights that Jones has created.

‘The best children’s writer of the last forty years’

  1. Neil Gaiman

Not your typical wizard

Diana Wynne Jones’s narrative is both reassuringly familiar and packed full of novelty, with surprises slipped in at the drop of a wizard’s hat. None is as unexpected as Howl himself, whose entrance is increasingly anticipated. Sophie assumes that the cobwebs, dust and decay of the castle furnish the living quarters of an aged and bearded magician, so she is as taken aback as the reader when the hunk of the wizarding world appears at the door. There are many more delightful twists and turns along the way, which makes this book endlessly appealing to readers of all ages.

About Diana Wynne Jones

Diana Wynne Jones had an unsettled childhood against the background of the Second World War. Her family moved frequently, finally settling in rural Essex. She and her two sisters were deprived of books but, armed with a vivid imagination and an insatiable appetite for stories, Jones wrote them herself to read to her sisters. She never ceased writing, and from 1973 onwards published many titles, which have been released worldwide in 30 languages. Her magical adventures have enthralled children and adults ever since. Among Jones’s best-loved books are the Chrestomanci series and Howl’s Moving Castle and its two sequels. In 2004 Howl’s Moving Castle was made into an animated film by Hayao Miyazaki for Studio Ghibli, Japan. It broke all box-office records in Japan at the time and was nominated for an Oscar. Jones’s numerous awards include the Guardian Award for Children’s Fiction, two Mythopoeic Fantasy Awards and a Life Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention 2007. Neil Gaiman called her ‘the best writer of Magic there is’.

About Marcus Sedgwick

Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in East Kent in the south-east of England before moving to the French Alps. A renowned author and illustrator, he won many prizes, most notably the 2014 Michael L. Printz Award for his novel Midwinterblood (2012), which, along with two Printz Honours, for Revolver (2010) and The Ghosts of Heaven (2015), gave him the most citations to date for America’s most prestigious prize for writing for young adults. Sedgwick was Author-in-Residence at Bath Spa University for three years, and periodically taught creative writing. He judged numerous book awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Costa Book Awards. He illustrated some of his own books and created wood engravings for a couple of private press books. In 2019, he introduced the Folio Society edition of Howl’s Moving Castle.  

About Marie-Alice Harel

Marie-Alice Harel is a French illustrator based in Edinburgh. She started her career as a Geosciences PhD and researcher before taking up illustration full-time in 2016. Her illustrations, predominantly watercolours, can be found in books, picture books, galleries and magazines. Harel teaches life drawing and illustration at the Edinburgh Drawing School. Previously longlisted in the 2018 Book Illustration Competition, which is run by the House of Illustration and The Folio Society, Harel’s illustrations and binding design for Howl’s Moving Castle won the 2019 competition. Marie has since illustrated Castle in the Air for Folio (2021) and House of Many Ways (2021).


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