Jan Mark lived in Oxford. She was born in Welwyn, Hertfordshire on 22 June 1943. Jan grew up in North London and Kent. She was educated at the Ashford County Grammar School (read Jane Sherman's text on their Ashford period) and the Canterbury College of Art where she got a National Diploma in Design in 1965.
Jan taught at a North Kent secondary school from 1965 till 1971, and started writing in 1974. She frequently visited schools and libraries, and lectured abroad. In the early 1980s Jan became Writer in Residence in the education department of the Oxford Polytechnic, now called Oxford Brookes University. It was in that capacity that American writer Terry Farrish learnt to know her. Read Terry's essay on Jan Mark's role in her writing career.
In Flanders (Belgium) she played an essential role in an important innovation in
English language teaching, the use of youth literature.
Jan Mark died unexpectedly in Oxford on Monday, 16 January 2006.