Our Authors
John Agard

John Agard was born in Guyana and emigrated to Britain in 1977. He has worked as an actor and a performer with a jazz group and spent several years with the Commonwealth Institute, travelling all over Britain giving talks, performances and workshops. He has visited literally thousands of schools. His poem 'Half-caste' is on the AQA Englsih GCSE syllabus, and every year he tours the country performing with other top poets for GCSE students. His children's poetry includes WE ANIMALS WOULD LIKE A WORD WITH YOU, POINTS OF VIEW WITH PROFESSOR PEEKABOO, and most recently EINSTEIN, THE GIRL WHO HATED MATHS and HELLO H2O, poems about maths and science respectively. All these titles have been in collaboration with the illustrator Satoshi Kitamura He lives in Sussex and is married to Grace Nichols, herself a respected Caribbean poet. They have a daughter.

BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip hop artist, writer, poet and historian Akala is a label owner and social entrepreneur who fuses unique rap/rock/electro-punk sound with fierce storytelling. Jay-Z, M.I.A. and Christina Aguilera are just a few of the musicians Akala's toured with, his own stellar live show headlined eight UK tours and he regularly appears at festivals such as Glastonbury and Wireless.More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism, Akala has written for the The Guardian, Huffington Post UK and The Independent, and also taken part in British Council arts education and music projects all over the world.In 2009, with Sir Ian McKellen's support, Akala launched the 'The Hip-hop Shakespeare Company', a music theatre production company which sparked worldwide media interest. Previous clients and collaborators include the BBC, Premier League, Mastercard, The Barbican and Ed Sheeran.Akala has also featured on numerous TV programmes across Channel 4, ITV2, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his projects as well as speaking on wide ranging subjects from music and poetry to youth engagement and British/African-Caribbean culture.
Rachel Anderson

Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Award for Paper Faces, Rachel Anderson has written more than 30 books for children of all ages. She excels at tackling life's difficult themes with a skilful blend of humour and sensitivity. Rachel has one daughter, three sons, two goldfish, several free-range muntjacs, and a delightful diversity of grandchildren.
Bernard Ashley

Bernard Ashley is one of the top writers for teenagers today. Drawing on his experience as a headteacher in a South London school he writes exciting, hard-hitting stories for the young adult reader plus picture book and younger fiction texts.Bernard's first novel, The Trouble with Donovan Croft, won the 'Other Award', an alternative to the Carnegie Award. Since then he has written extensively both for television and the children's book market. His adaptation of his own novel Dodgem won the Royal Television Society Award for the Best Children's Entertainment Programme. Bernard has written a number of successful novels for Orchard Books. Tiger Without Teeth was chosen as the Guardian's Children's Book of the Week; Little Soldier, about the gang-run estates of inner London, was shortlisted for both the Carnegie and Guardian Fiction Award; and Revenge House, a hard-hitting crime thriller, are all typical of Bernard's highly charged, gritty approach.Bernard Ashley lives in South East London only a street or so from where he was born. During his time as a teacher and headteacher he worked in Kent, Hertfordshire, Newham and Greenwich.Visit Bernard Ashley at:
Steve Backshall

Steve Backshall is well-known as a TV presenter, wildlife enthusiast and explorer. He travels the world to learn about the most inspiring animals, from boxing mantis shrimp to charging tigers. Steve also regularly writes articles for newspapers and magazines including the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC TRAVELER and BBC WILDLIFE and is an inspirational public speaker.Steve's website is, and you can follow him on Facebook at and on Twitter @SteveJBackshall.
Peter Bailey

Peter Bailey has been illustrating books for more than 35 years and has worked with many of today's best known authors, including Philip Pullman, Allan Ahlberg, Michael Morpurgo and Joan Aiken. He lives near Liverpool with his wife, Sian, who is also an illustrator.
Angela Barrett

Angela Barrett completed a Masters Degree at the Royal College of Art, London and was taught by Quentin Blake. Upon leaving, Angela turned almost immediately to illustration as a career.Her first book was The King, The Cat and The Fiddle, for A&C Black, which was runner up in the Mother Goose Award in 1984. Since then, Angela has illustrated titles and designed book covers for well over 30 titles. Recognition of her work came with the Smarties Prize in 1988 for Can It Be True?, the WH Smith Illustration Award in 1991 for The Hidden House and being shortlisted for the Kurt Maschler Award in 1984 and 1989 and the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1993 for Beware, Beware!The Orchard Book of Stories from the Ballet and The Orchard Book of Shakespeare Stories are exquisitely illustrated by Angela and are regarded as definitive collections. Angela has become a leading figure in illustration and her unique talent is recognised internationally. Her artwork regularly features in exhibitions and is highly collectable. Angela lives in London.
Zdenko Basic

Zdenko Basic received a prize at the first Croatian Biennale of Illustration and also won the Best Young Artist in Croatia award. In addition to his books, Zdenko works as a costume designer, scenographer and graphic designer.
Tom Bradman

Tom and Tony Bradman are a father and son writing team from London.
Tom and Tony Bradman

Tom and Tony Bradman are a father and son writing team from London.
Richard Brassey

Richard Brassey is the author and illustrator of a host of colourful and original non-fiction books for children, among them the bestselling Nessie the Loch Ness Monster and The Story of Scotland, which won the TES/Saltire Society Award. He lives in Essex. Visit his website at
John Butler

John Butler has written and illustrated numerous top-selling books for children, all of which have featured the environment or animals in their natural habitats. His other books include 'Can You Cuddle Like a Koala?', 'While You Were Sleeping', 'Hush Little Ones', and 'Pi-Shu the Little Panda', and collaborated with author Sally Grindley on 'Polar Star', 'Little Tang' and 'Little Elephant Thunderfoot'. 'Little Elephant Thunderfoot' was shortlisted for the picture book categories of both the Sheffield Children's Book Award 1997 and The Federation of Children's Book Groups Awards 1997.John lives in Kent with his wife.
Anne Cassidy

Anne Cassidy has an established reputation in the world of young adult fiction. She has published several titles for Scholastic, including the East End Murders series for Point Crime as well as her stand alone novels, Talking to Strangers and the Hidden Child, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 1998. The powerful Looking for JJ was shortlisted for many awards including the Whitbread, and won the Booktrust Teenage Book Award in 2004. Anne draws on her own interests and experiences for her novels, and writes about issues that are close to her heart. Anne also loves writing stories for younger readers. She lives in London.
Emma Chichester Clark

Emma Chichester Clark trained at the Chelsea College of Art and The Royal College of Art before becoming a full-time illustrator. She was awarded the Mother Goose Award in 1988 as the most promising newcomer to children's book illustration. She has since illustrated a number of picture books and collections for Orchard Books, Andersen Press, Pavilion and Methuen.For Orchard Emma illustrated The Orchard Book of Greek Myths in 1992 and in 1997 The Orchard Book of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Both books have been retold by award-winning writer Geraldine McCaughrean, who has retold a number of the Orchard Collections. Emma's lively illustrations perfectly match the magic of the stories which bring characters of Ancient Greece strikingly to life. Emma was also chosen to be one of eight artists to illustrate The Orchard Book of Opera Stories retold by Adèle Geras which was published last Autumn to much acclaim.In 1998 Emma has joined forces with major poet and playwright, Adrian Mitchell, to illustrate his retelling of Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood and Maid Marian published in June.Emma has also written and illustrated a number of her own books, including Tea with Aunt Augusta, Miss Bilberry's New House and Little Miss Muppet Counts to Ten. She also illustrated some collections written by Laura Cecil including A Thousand Yards of Sea (Methuen), and has recently illustrated Thumbelina (Pavilion) and Little Red Riding Hood (Macdonald Young Books). Emma lives in Fulham in South West London, and has featured in the Illustrators Hall of Fame in The Mail on Sunday with other illustrators including Quentin Blake, Michael Foreman, Shirley Hughes, Anthony Browne and Raymond Briggs.
Heather Chivers

Paul Cookson

Paul was born in 1961 in Essex. After the usual exams and college courses he became a teacher. Paul still teaches but spends most of his time performing poetry and running poetry workshops for both adults and children.He has written and edited a number of books including the bestselling anthology THE WORKS, WHAT SHAPE IS A POEM?, WHO RULES THE SCHOOL NOW?, UNZIP YOUR LIPS, TONGUE TWISTERS AND TONSIL TWIZZLERS, TEACHERS PETS, THE VERY BEST OF PAUL COOKSON, YOU'RE NOT GOING OUT LIKE THAT, STAYING OUT LATE PLAYING OUT LATE, and CRAZY CLASSROOMS AND SECRET STAFFROOMS. He is a contributor to Hodder Wayland's audio poetry collection POEMS OUT LOUD.Paul is married and lives with Sally, Sam and Daisy (and Ginger the guinea pig) in Retford.
Katz Cowley

British-born Katz Cowley has a degree in Illustration from the University of Northumbria. She spent a year and a half travelling around SE Asia and living in Australia before arriving in New Zealand in 2000, where she has been ever since.
Narinder Dhami

Narinder Dhami is the author of Starring Alice Mackenzie, published by Harpercollins and second prizewinner in the TSB Birmingham Children's Book Award 1996. She is also a contributor to several bestselling series, The Sleepover Club (Collins), Animal Ark Pets (Hodder) and Animal Crackers (Transworld). She was a primary teacher until 1990, when she began writing full time. She lives with her husband in Cambridge.
Angela Dijksman

Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson, the 2011-2013 Children's Laureate, is the outrageously talented, prize-winning author of the world's most-loved picture books including The Gruffalo and What the Ladybird Heard.The Gruffalo, illustrated by Axel Scheffler, is now a children's classic and publishing phenomenon; celebrating 15 years in 2014, selling over 3 million copies worldwide, was voted Great Britain's favourite bedtime story on BBC Radio 2 and was adapted and broadcast as an animation on BBC 1 on Christmas Day 2009. The Gruffalo's Child and Room on the Broom are now also films, with Room on the Broom shortlisted for an Academy Award in 2014. Julia Donaldson's most recent books with Axel Scheffler include Superworm (2012), Highway Rat (2011), Tabby McTat (2010), Stick Man (2009) and Tiddler (2008).Julia Donaldson has also published work with David Roberts, Nick Sharratt, Emily Gravett, Rebecca Cobb, and Lydia Monks. Her collaboration with Lydia Monks began in 2003, with the first collection of Princess Mirror-Belle stories. The fabulously glittery Sugarlump and the Unicorn is their sixth, and most recent, picture book collaboration. She also writes poems, plays, songs and fiction for older children and, together with her husband Malcolm, has performed her wonderful stage shows all over the world.