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Anna Wilson

Children's writer, Non-fiction writer

My first book was Over in the Grasslands (Macmillan, 1999) — a picture book written while I was working as a children’s book editor. I’d always had ambitions to be published, but earning money had to take precedence! I eventually went freelance and was able to dedicate more time to writing. I published a series for 5–8 year-olds: Nina, Fairy Ballerina(Macmillan, 2006–2010). I went on to write several series for Macmillan, as a result of which I was chosen as a World Book Day author in 2010. Monkey Business (Macmillan, 2011) was shortlisted for the Hull Libraries award, and The Poodle Problem (Macmillan, 2012) was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club. Shortly after this I wrote my first book for teens, Summer’s Shadow (Macmillan, 2015) which was shortlisted for the Lancashire Book of the Year award. Another teen title, The Parent Problem (Macmillan, 2016) was chosen as a recommended read for the summer reading challenge. However, my personal life was starting to encroach on my writing career as my parents’ health was failing. I was still writing for children, but although Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire (Little Tiger, 2018) was translated into thirteen languages, I found I was earning less from writing than I had been in the past. I applied to Bath Spa University to teach on the Creative Writing MA and BA. I also began writing my memoir, A Place for Everything (HarperCollins, 2020) which was an exploration of my mother’s late diagnosis of autism at the age of 72. This was a new departure for me — a book for adults, and a serious one at that. It was Editor’s Choice in The Bookseller magazine where it was described as ‘a vividly told and profoundly affecting memoir’ and was featured on BBC Woman’s Hour.

While trying to find a publisher for my memoir, I wrote nonfiction for children for the first time, producing five editions of an almanac for the National Trust: Nature Month-by-Month (Nosy Crow, 2018–2022). This foray into a new area of children’s writing led me to think of going back to my roots in picture books, and I have written four over the past three years: The Wide, Wide Sea (Nosy Crow, 2021); Shine Like the Stars (Andersen Press, 2023); Grandpa and the Kingfisher (Nosy Crow, 2023); Be Back Soon(Andersen Press, 2024). Grandpa and the Kingfisher was written after my father died. I wanted to write about death in a clear, gentle, no-nonsense way for children. I was thrilled when it was shortlisted for the Wainwright Nature prize in 2023. This feels very much like the highlight of my writing career so far. During my time as an RLF Fellow, I have been working on my first novel which has no contract as yet. I feel I have had to constantly shapeshift to stay in the game as a writer. I hope I still have many more books in me, be they for adult or child.

 

Anna Wilson read Modern Languages at Cambridge before becoming a picture book editor for Macmillan Children’s Books and HarperCollins. From 2013 to 2019, she lectured in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. She was the RLF Fellow at Exeter Penryn from 2021-2023 and enjoyed seeing students gain confidence in their own writing. She has run writing workshops in schools for children of all ages in this country and abroad for over twenty years. She now also lectures for City University of London and the Arvon Foundation and works for the London Writers’ Salon as a writing coach. She is currently working on her first novel for adults. Anna lives in Cornwall.

Anna Wilson began her career as an editor at Macmillan but quickly turned her attention to writing her own books and has now published over 60 titles. Anna has written many books for children which have been translated into several languages. Grandpa and the Kingfisher was shortlisted for the Wainwright Award. She has also published a memoir: A Place for Everything – my mother, autism and me, reviewed as “a seminal work in this area” by the world expert in autism in women, Professor Tony Attwood. Anna was also an Associate Lecturer at Bath Spa University for many years and was the RLF Fellow at Exeter Penryn from 2021-2023. She now works for the London Writers’ Salon as a writing coach and is currently writing her first novel for adults. She is a passionate and eclectic reader and loves nothing more than connecting people through the power of story.

More from Anna Wilson

Anna Wilson

Anna Wilson

Children's writer, Non-fiction writer

Email

[email protected]

Posts

  • University of Exeter, Penryn, 2021–2023
  • Reading Round Fellow
  • Bridge Fellow