Claire lives in North Devon and is the author of the acclaimed Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog series. Her new book is Knitbone Pepper Ghost Dog and a Horse called Moon, the latest in the collection. The book features astronomy: Knitbone’s owner Winnie discovers the stars after the dog digs up an ancient telescope. Claire says she has been inspired by Shirley Hughes, Oscar Wilde and Roald Dahl.
Peter lives in Totnes and has just written a new book, Potion Commotion, featuring a witch called Betty, her experiments with cooking and an encounter with a hungry dragon. One of Peter’s best known works is The Prince and the Porker, a clever retelling of the classic story about the prince and the pauper. Peter went to ten different schools around the world and studied languages at Oxford University
Falmouth-based Rebecca is a rising star in children’s picture books, with one of her best known works Paper Dolls, which she worked on with Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson. Her first solo book, Missing Mummy, was published in 2011 and won praise for its sensitive handling of child bereavement. She has collaborated on two picture books with the Orange-Prize winner Helen Dunmore, and is working on a new book with Julia Donaldson.
Nicola’s new book, A First Book of Animal, is a venture with illustrator Petr Horacek, and follows a series of other works featuring animals including One Tiny Turtle, Surprising Sharks, and Bat Loves the Night. With a degree in zoology, Nicola says she was always fascinated by animals – she had her first binoculars for bird watching at the age of eight. Before her writing career, Nicola worked as a wildlife biologist tracking dolphin populations.
Author, poet and song writer John has teamed up with illustrator Tom Morgan-Jones to create a new book, Dinosaurs and Dinner Ladies, which investigates the real reasons why the dinosaurs died out. John’s other books have included the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face collection as well as Niteracy Hour a story about an “extraordinary head-louse”) and Jack Slater – Monster Investigator. Born in Northern Ireland, John lives in Gloucestershire.
Prague-born Petr has worked with author Nicola Davies to produce A First Book of Animals, a new book that takes the reader on a global tour to discover creatures of every description. His first books Strawberries are Red and What is Black and White were published in 2001. Other books have included The Greedy Goat and Blue Penguin. Petr was taught at the High School of Art in Prague.
Author Jem Packer and illustrator team Duncan McCosham –Knife and Packer – have brought out a new work, Badly Drawn Beth, which won the 6-8 year old category in the Laugh Out Loud awards. Knife and Packer have written and illustrated more than 30 books, including Fleabag Monkeyface and The Naked Truth. Jem and Duncan have been working together since 1993, when they discovered they had a similar sense of humour.
Jsh is the author of Dragonsitter: Trick or Treat?, the seventh in a series of books about the adventures of a pet dragon. The first book in the series – The Dragonsitter – was shortlisted in 2012 for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize. Josh is also known for a collection of eight books starring the dog Grk, and including Grk and the Hot Dog Trail. He has written one historical novel, Bearkeeper.
Lucy is the illustrator behind Atlas of Miniature Adventures, which she worked on with writer Emily Hawkins and features some of the world’s best small-scale adventures, from riding on the world’s smallest railway to cruising coral reefs with a tiny seahorse. Lucy has worked as an illustrator since graduating from Manchester School of Art in 2011. She advises children: “Have confidence in what you do – it’s what makes you unique”.
A big believer in the power of comics, Sarah has collaborated with author Philip Reeve on four books, including their latest, Jinks & O’Hare Funfair Repair. Her other books with Philip included Cakes in Space and Oliver and the Seawigs, while she also worked with author David O’Connell on Jampires. A books illustrator for 16 years, Sarah studied Russian at university and worked at The Moscow Times as a journalist.
Ross’s latest book is Perijee & Me, about a girl who secretly raises the very own alien as a little brother. His first book was Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door, which was included in a list of 100 “modern children’s classics” selected by the Sunday Times. Ross confesses to liking books about “weedy kids”, especially boys. He has worked as a pig farmer, postman and primary school teacher.
Tom draws with a dip pen and his distinctive illustrations crop up in a range of places – from children’s books to board games. His latest collaboration is with writer John Dougherty in their new book, Dinosaurs and Dinner Ladies. Among his best known books is Mission: Explore, described as “the most revolutionary geography-related book ever published”. Tom has also worked with Philip Ardagh on Unlikely Outlaws.
Born in Brighton, Philip has continued his partnership with illustrator Sarah McIntyre to produce Jinks & O’Hare Funfair Repair, about a trip to the biggest funfair in the galaxy. Philip’s first published book was Mortal Engines, set in in a weird futuristic landscape and the first of a series of four “predator cities” books. He is also known for a novel set in Dark Age Britain, Here Lies Arthur. Philip lives on Dartmoor.
One of Britain’s best known illustrators, Nick has just written and illustrated his first novel, The Cat and the King. He has worked on about 250 books, from board books for babies to novels for teenagers. Most of his books have been in association with authors such as Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen but have also included about 40 of his own books. Proud recipient of a gold Blue Peter badge.
Up and coming young author, Preston-born Katherine had a big success with her first book, The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, which was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize after its publication in 2015. She followed this up this year with The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth. Katherine’s favourite book of all time is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. She studied English literature at Bristol University.
Vanessa is a story teller – telling tales of all sorts but especially known for work with children. She is leading a special session at the festival which will feature music and singing as well as storytelling, based around a new 30-year edition of the children’s classic, Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy. Vanessa has told stories in many UK schools as well as Harrods and the Royal Opera House.