Lloyd Alexander, 1924-2007
"Miss Vesper Holly has the digestive talents of a goat and the mind of a chess master. She is familiar with half a dozen languages and can swear fluently in all of them." -- The Illyrian Adventure
From the Washington Post obit:
"I used the imaginary kingdom not as a sentimentalized fairyland, but as an opening wedge to express what I hoped would be some very hard truths," he once told an interviewer. "I never saw fairy tales as an escape or a cop-out. . . . On the contrary, speaking for myself, it is the way to understand reality."
I'll post more links as I find them.
His last book, due out in August.
A Letter to the Horn Book
The Horn Book Obit (both via Read Roger)
SFScope (via Fuse)
School Library Journal
Lloyd Alexander Books (his website)