Emily has worked as a touring actor, a princess at Hampton Court and for the National Trust creating experiences for visitors. She’s the winner of both the Mslexia Children’s and YA Novel prize and the Times/Chicken House award. She lives in Wiltshire with her family, and can often be found searching for witch stones by the sea.
Alison D. Stegert
At age twelve, Alison read The Secret Garden, a book she credits with unleashing her desire to write, her urge to travel, and her fascination with the UK – all unusual interests for a country girl from small-town America. Ali has three daughters and now focuses on her writing.
Kory Merritt is the author of the acclaimed No Place for Monsters. He is a former public school art teacher who has worked as an illustrator for the online game franchise Poptropica and its spin-off book series.
Zana Fraillon is an internationally acclaimed, multi-award-winning author of books for children and young adults. Her work has been published in over 15 countries and is in development for both stage and screen. Zana was born and currently lives in Melbourne/Naarm.
Stephanie spent much of her childhood running around the hills of north-west England, and wishing she could somehow fall into the worlds of her favourite books. After university, she set off to explore the world.
Melissa Welliver writes speculative fiction about how the end of the world is never really the end of the world. After studying Creative Writing at the University of Manchester, she went on to complete Curtis Brown Creative’s Writing for Children course. Her work has listed in Bath Novel Award, Mslexia, the Hachette Children’s Novel Award and the Wells Book for Children Competition. Melissa lives in the North of England with her doodles, Maude and Zelda.
Christina grew up in the UK. She loves the natural world and believes that stories, much like the roots of an ancient forest, are capable of connecting readers and listeners in essential ways. Wildoak is her first book. She graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature and has since worked at a national newspaper, taught literacy to children with learning differences and studied printmaking. She now lives in Maryland with her family and a dog who loves to eat manuscripts.
Anna’s writing career started in journalism as a film critic for Time Out Paris and the author of seven travel guidebooks for Frommer’s. She has written for multiple publications, including the Financial Times, The Times and The Sunday Times Travel Magazine, where she was the long-standing Paris expert. Her debut novel, Monster Bogey, was a SCBWI Undiscovered Voices winner and longlisted for the Bath Children’s Novel Award. When not writing, she has been an actress, a cabaret singer and an electro-pop artist, performing on stage and composing songs for films and commercials. Raised in Birmingham and Yorkshire, she now lives in Paris with her French-Canadian husband and son.
Fran is a graphic designer from West Yorkshire, who loves bringing new ideas to life in her writing. After studying English Literature for a year at university, she changed disciplines and went on to graduate with a BA in Graphic Design. She remains a self-confessed bookworm and, as a child, was regularly told off for reading under the table during maths lessons. When she’s not reading or writing, Fran loves drinking coffee, travelling, and spoiling her house rabbit, Buffy. The Other Ones is her first novel, written for NaNoWriMo in November 2019, and edited ever since.
Fran’s novel, The Other Ones, is a contemporary YA ghost story with a twist. It’s a story about being different, friendship, acceptance and first love, and was written for anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out.
Molly Morris is a California native with a penchant for the bizarre. After living in the Washington, DC area for university, she moved to the UK to study on the Creative Writing MA at UEA. It’s here where she honed her love for all things magical realism and Young Adult fiction, her writing and reading true love. These days she lives in Norfolk with her husband, daughter and their cat, Lemon.
Yarrow Townsend spent her childhood among the moss, oak and heather of the New Forest. After working as a teacher, and then as a stablehand, Yarrow completed an MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University, before returning to the forest to work for the RSPB. Always in search of ways to be closer to the outdoors, Yarrow now lives on a narrowboat, travelling the canals with her garden on the roof. The Map of Leaves is inspired by her life by the woods and the water, and by her own parents’ herb books. Follow her: @yarrowtownsend
Eloise has a bit of a history with swords, particularly stabbing people with swords. Indeed, it is said that she was once an Olympic fencer. Others say she won three Commonwealth gold medals. And some whisper that she could kill you in a duel. Probably.
Luckily, she has since discovered the pen is mightier than the sword. She’s built a career in advertising, writing all sorts of marvellously silly adverts about everything from shampoo to motorbikes. Recently, she’s turned her wordsmithery to children’s fiction. Sister to a Star is her first book, an action-packed adventure about sibling rivalry, brimming with glamour and skulduggery.
Varsha loves books that blend humour and story and has always wanted to be a writer. She has had non fiction articles published in Legal Week, Legal Week Global, the on-line edition of economia, the on-line edition of Harper’s Bazaar, and the Times Education Supplement. A former Solicitor, she is now an English Language and Literature teacher. She has also taught English as a foreign language in Japan and Canada, and often draws on her travels in her writing.
Aneesa Marufu (born 1997) lives in Manchester, UK, and when she isn’t running around after her children she’s hunting for a new book to escape into. She was the winner of the Kimberley Chambers Kickstart Prize in 2019 and The Balloon Thief, her debut novel, is inspired by her British Asian heritage.
Sabine Adeyinka was born in England to a Nigerian dad and Jamaican mum. She grew up in Nigeria where she spent the most memorable time in boarding school from the age of eleven. As a young girl, she loved reading novels about boarding schools from around the world and longed to tell the stories of her own exciting experience. Sabine’s favourite pastime is writing stories about memories of the landscape, food and people of her childhood. She now lives in London with her husband and two children.
CHLOË PERRIN is a North Walian writer who currently lives in West London studying Creative Writing at Brunel University.
They love to feed crows, prefers Halloween to Christmas and was frequently told off as a child for reading in class. Chloë has previously worked as a youth worker, drama tutor and professional storyteller, having always believed that the best way to teach anyone anything is through a story.
HIS ROYAL HOPELESS was longlisted for the 2019 Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Prize and is their debut novel.
Photography credit: Chloe Potamiti
Oli Hyatt & Anna Rainbow
ANNA RAINBOW grew up and still lives in North East England and works as a Clinical Psychologist with people with disabilities. Anna loves music and has always been in various choirs, singing quartets, bands, and orchestras. In 2015 she was shortlisted for the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition which led to Chicken House publishing The Fandom, her series for young adults (as Anna Day) – it sold in 24 territories and was optioned for TV development by Fox. This is her debut middle-grade novel.
OLI HYATT is based in Kings Sutton and is the co-founder of BAFTA award-winning animation studio Blue Zoo. He is also the Director of Alphablocks Limited, the company behind the popular CBeebies phonics shows, Alphablocks and Numberblocks. He is also the chair of Animation UK and was awarded an MBE for his services to the animation industry. This is Oli’s debut novel.
Antigua de Fortune of the High Seas is Oli and Anna's first co-authored book together.
Sarah Horne learnt to draw whilst trying to explain her reasoning for an elaborate haircut at the age of nine.
An illustrator for over fifteen years, she started her Illustration career working freelance for newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent On Sunday and Print Week. She also worked on commissions for advertising clients such as Nike, IKEA and Kew Gardens.
In 2010, Sarah published Paws, Claws and Frilly Drawers and Tantrums And Tiaras her first Author/ Illustrator young fiction titles with Stripes.
Sarah has since illustrated many funny young fiction titles, including the Fizzlebert Stump series by A.F Harrold (Bloomsbury), Llama United by Scott Allen (Pan Macmillan) and Ask Oscar by Alan MacDonald (Egmont). Panda at the Door is her first book with Chicken House.
She loves to include detail and extra visual narratives in her work. She works traditionally with a dip pen and Indian ink, and finishes the work digitally. When not at her desk, Sarah loves running, painting, photography, cooking, film, and a good stomp up a hill.
Image credit: Hazel Thompson
Richard has always loved spending time by the sea. Although he grew up in Hertfordshire, his grandparents live on the south coast in Sussex and Dorset where much of the inspiration for his stories has been found. Whether writing, sunbathing or sheltering from the rain with a mug of tea, the family beach hut in Bournemouth has always been one of his happiest places.
Richard’s debut novel, The Peculiar Tale of the Tentacle Boy, won the inaugural Chairman’s Choice prize as part of the Times/Chicken House children’s fiction competition in 2019. His love of storytelling started at a young age, through a passion for literature but also for cinema. Two of his greatest childhood influences were Roald Dahl and Tim Burton, who both possess a wickedly dark sense of humour.
Along with writing, some of Richard’s other interests include wild swimming in seas and rivers, scary movies, West End musicals and 90s pop culture. He is also a massive Eurovision fan, a Disney film nerd and someone who gets far too invested in The Oscars.
Richard has a degree in Film & Literature from the University of Warwick. Before becoming a writer he worked in public relations, for many years at Condé Nast as well as Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton. He now works as a freelance publicist, and lives with his partner in London.
Tom Ellen is the co-author of three critically acclaimed Young Adult novels from Chicken House - Lobsters (2014, which was shortlisted for The Bookseller's inaugural YA Book Prize), Never Ends (2016) and Freshers (2017, nominated for the 2018 Carnegie Medal). The books have been translated into more than twenty languages worldwide.
Tom's debut adult novel All About Us from HQ/HarperCollins was published in October 2020, with the follow-up due out in early 2022.
His debut Middle Grade book, The Cartoons that Came to Life, comes out with Chicken House in 2021.
Tom also works as a journalist and has written for publications such as Empire, Glamour, Evening Standard Magazine, NME, Cosmopolitan, ShortList, Vice, Time Out, Stylist and many more. He is a longstanding contributor to Viz comic, and has written TV, radio and online comedy material for XFM, ESPN and The Daily Mash.