Margaret Nash grew up in the industrial West Riding of Yorkshire, and, as a child, was always fascinated by a sense of place, whether in the mill or on the moors. She has worked as a children's librarian in London and the home counties, has two grown-up sons, and now lives in rural Bedfordshire with a lazy lovable cat.
Sarah was born in Scotland and grew up in Norfolk. After attending Great Yarmouth College of Art and Design, Sarah moved to London with her boyfriend and her pet goldfish. Some years later, she found herself married to the boyfriend, still in possession of one of the original goldfish and the new owner of a cat and an accident-prone dog! And to complete the family there is Arthur, Sarah's young son. Sarah thinks her dyslexia spurred her on to become an illustrator. Believing herself to be no good at writing she compensated by concentrating on her drawing.Sarah's lively illustrations accompany award-winning Pat Moon's, Do Not Read Any Further, a Jacqueline Wilson style story of Finch and her friends and their school website, 'What's Your Problem?'. Set up to help kids share their problems, they get emails ranging from how to deal with the embarrassment of snorting pink milkshake all over the boy you fancy, to how to deal with bullying.Sarah now lives in Walthamstow with her husband and son and a variety of humorously named pets (Captain Scarlet, the goldfish!). Despite her fear of flying, Sarah has recently discovered a liking for travelling. This comes in handy when adding to her collection of snowstorms! When her feet are firmly on the ground back home she likes nothing better than taking the accident-prone dog for a long walk or just looking after her son and the rest of her pets.
Maria is an illustrator based in Bratislava, Slovakia. She graduated from Academy of Fine Arts and Design and Tomas Bata University in Czech Republic. Her award winning illustrations can be found mostly in children's books and magazines, however she has also worked with advertising agencies and non-profit organisations. To recharge and find inspiration she enjoys long hikes in the mountains, trips to the countryside, running and evenings spent with her family and friends.
Mark Nicholas was born and brought up near York. He was artistic from an early age and studied modelmaking at the University of Bournemouth. He began working as a modelmaker after graduating, but always had a love of children's picture books, inspired by Mick Inkpen's Kipper and a short stint as a playground designer. After a successful career which included working on the CBBC stop-motion animation 'Rubbadubbers', in 2012 he decided to seek a career in illustration and gained a place on the MA Children's Book Illustration Course at Cambridge School of Art. Whilst studying on the course, Mark won the Hachette Children's Group's Carmelite Prize for Illustration to illustrate Tantrum O'Furrily, by Cressida Cowell, as well as the Macmillan Lara Jones Award. When not illustrating children's books, you'll find Mark wandering the fields of Wales with his wife and daughter, picking up inspirational textures for his illustrations.
Maria Nilsson grew up in Sweden but moved to London in 2001. She studied BA Illustration at the University of Westminster, achieving a first class honours degree. After graduating she worked as a freelance illustrator until the birth of her children. When they started toddling, Maria took up her pencil again and in 2009 was shortlisted for the Picture This competition (Macmillan and Waterstones' search for a new illustrator for an exclusive Julia Donaldson story). She still loves illustrating her own stories, as well as illustrating for others. Maria is a debut talent whom we have great hopes for. She lives in south London with her husband and two children.
Louise comes from a fine art background and has worked in greetings cards for the past nine years. She began painting at first from a shed at the bottom of her parents' garden, graduating to a little studio at her home in Leyland, Lancashire which she shares with husband Andrew and two year old son Seth. Children's book illustration has been a lifelong ambition for her but it was the arrival of Seth and his appetite for story books that encouraged her to pursue it.She has kept some of her favourite books from childhood and now loves nothing more than settling down in a cosy chair and sharing them with Seth. The magic of a good book stays with you forever and she loves the thought that her pictures could play that special part in others' childhood.Whatever the weather she loves long walks in the countryside with her husband, her son and a flask of milky coffee.
Mary Norton spent much of her childhood in a late Georgian house which later became the model for Firbank Hall in 'The Borrowers'. For a year she acted at the Old Vic before getting married and going to live in Portugal. During the Second World War she was evacuated to New York and struggled to support herself and her four children while her husband was in the Navy. It was then that she began to write, and in 1945 her first children's books, 'The Magic Bedknob' and 'Bonfires and Broomsticks' later combined in a single volume, 'Bedknob and Broomstick' was published. These were followed in 1952 by 'The Borrowers', which was awarded the Carnegie Medal, and three other titles 'The Borrowers Afield', 'The Borrowers Afloat' and 'The Borrowers Aloft'.
Robert Nye was born in London in 1939, grew up in Southend-on-Sea, and now lives in the West of Ireland. He is a distinguished poet and writer of historical novels, and regularly reviews fiction and poetry for national newspapers. His love and knowledge of myth, legend and folk tale was inspired from an early age by his mother's gift for storytelling.