Gillian McClure writes and illustrates for children aged three to seven years, specialising in high-quality picture books. Her first book The Emperor’s Singing Bird was written while she was briefly a primary-school teacher after graduating from Bristol University. A schools inspector spotted her illustrated story in the classroom and sent it off to Andre Deutsch, who published it in 1974. Since then, her books have been published in the UK by Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Random House, Bloomsbury and Frances Lincoln; and, in the US, by Farrar Strauss & Giroux. Several of them have been shortlisted for awards; one was highly commended for the Kate Greenaway medal and Selkie won the US Parents’ Guide to Children’s Media award for outstanding achievement in children’s books.
In 2010, Gillian McClure launched her publishing company, Plaister Press, to be a platform for new picture books as well as backlist titles. Plaister Press has enabled her to enjoy greater creative freedom, away from the constraints of the mass market and to gain new insights into the publishing industry. Her latest book, We’re Going to Build a Dam, has been nominated for the UK Literacy Association (UKLA) book awards and the Kate Greenaway medal.
During her career as a published author, Gillian McClure has served on the children’s writers and illustrators’ group committee of the Society of Authors and the Public Lending Right advisory committee. She has been an Escalator Literature mentor and has given many talks and workshops at conferences and in schools and libraries.