Wynne-Jones entered the world of children’s literature by a circuitous route: He was first a musician, then an art student and subsequently a lecturer in art before finally turning to writing. His career began when he won the Seal First Novel Award for Odd's End, a book he wrote in five weeks.
His writing for children and young adults comprises a considerable and varied body of work. His stories convey the universal experience of growing up and navigating an adult world that is, at turns, cruel, cold, and mysterious. One of Wynne-Jones’s standard themes is the experiences of young men, their varied hopes and fears, and their full humanity. Along with sombre subjects, humour always plays a role in his young adult fiction.
Among other distinctions, he has twice won Canada’s top children’s literature prize, the Governor General’s Award, and his works have variously been selected as IBBY Honour Books and USBBY-CBC Outstanding International Books and have been recognized in the UK and Italy.