I first met Jean MacGibbon in 1975 when, as co-founder of the Other Award (an alternative children’s book award set up to promote ‘progressive’ writing for children), I sat on the panel of judges who gave the award to her novel, Hal. One of the first books for teenagers set in multi-cultural Britain and featuring a black heroine, Hal implicitly challenged notions about who could be included in writing for children while also setting high standards in terms of authenticity and literary quality. Jean became a friend and, with typical generosity, continued to support the Other Award – at the time a contentious prize – until its demise in 1985. Initially a writer for adults, Jean’s penetrating memoir of her own life and marriage, I Meant to Marry Him, is now perhaps the book for which she will be most remembered. Her husband, the publisher James MacGibbon, predeceased her in 2000.