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Tributes to fantasy author Joyce

Tributes from the world of fiction have been made to fantasy author Graham Joyce following his death from cancer.

The award-winning novelist, whose works include Some Kind Of Fairy Tale, The Year Of The Ladybird and The Tooth Fairy, died yesterday from complications of lymphoma cancer. He was 59.

Announcing his death on Twitter, his publisher Gollancz said: " Devastated to have to confirm that Graham Joyce died today after a long illness. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

"Graham Joyce was a writer of huge heart. He loved people and his writing celebrated the magic of them. His books are a fitting legacy."

Joyce's own Twitter account was also used to confirm the news to fans.

"We are so sorry to have to tell everyone that Graham died this afternoon. He was always so good with words so we don't know what to say," the announcement read.

"Thank you for all the wonderful kind messages of support and love throughout his illness. He will be missed so much."

News of his Joyce's death was met with sadness by fans and fellow authors alike.

Horror writer Stephen King said: "Very sad to hear that Graham Joyce, a truly great novelist, has passed away. Too soon. Far too soon."

Canadian fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay added: "Oh, damn. This is hard, sad news. Graham Joyce, a genuinely distinguished author and person has died, far too soon", while American novelist Jason VanderMeer added: "Graham Joyce RIP. Gutted. The Silent Land is one of my favorite novels."

Joyce's writing style, which was often categorised as "speculative fiction", won him numerous awards, including both the British Fantasy Award and the World Fantasy Award.

He grew up in Keresley, a mining village near Coventry, and lived in Leicester, teaching creative writing at Nottingham Trent University.

He also played in goal for the England Writers football team, and released a memoir of his time between the posts, Simple Goalkeeping Made Easy, which was shortlisted for the W illiam Hill Sport Book of the Year in 2009.

Simon Spanton, a ssociate publisher of Gollancz, said: "I was so lucky to be able to count Graham as a friend and utterly proud to have been able to be his publisher. I'm devastated to have lost a friend, devastated that I've now edited his last novel.

"As a novelist he bore the characteristics that made him such a lovely man: a warm, endless affection for people; an understanding of their troubles; a fierce belief in social justice; a, somehow, no-nonsense fascination with and acceptance of the numinous and a rich appreciation of the magic and the wonder we can find in the ordinary."

He added: "I know it will be little consolation right now to his friends and family as they deal with his loss, but thank goodness he was a writer; his wonderful novels mean that we can continue to share his profound qualities, his generous outlook and pass them on to other.

"I know of no other body of work with a larger and more generous heart. Much like their author."

Writing on his blog last month, Joyce discussed the "clarity of cancer" and described the joy of experiencing a "perfect day" in Wistow, near Leicester, which involved a picnic with his wife as they lazed by the River Sence.

He wrote: "I put my head down and gazed up at the clouds and thought: why would anyone want to die? Then my old friend the heron flew up from the river. Did it fly from right to left or from left to right? Oh, let's not get into that. It's just beautiful."

He added: "I have a brilliant team of doctors and nurses, trying to unlock time for me, at great expense, working hard to help me.

"An NHS system that is the pride of the world in its dedication to helping people to live. And just across the Ukraine someone of unspeakable low instinct can let go a missile and end it all for 300 people, quite casually."

Joyce is survived by his wife Sue and his children Ella and Joe.

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