The short story...
Katherine is the critically acclaimed author and illustrator of picture books published around the world, including Little Wing and the Squish Rabbit series. Her books have received starred Kirkus reviews, been named CBC Children's Choice books and been shortlisted for numerous awards. She is regularly booked to speak in schools, libraries and at festivals and she is a passionate advocate for literacy and the arts. In another life, Katherine worked for many years as a paediatric occupational therapist, specialising as a children’s counsellor. She has also studied graphic design and loves typography, grammar and vintage teacups.
Katherine currently divides her time between Brisbane (Australia) and Ottawa (Canada) with her husband and slightly mad puppy.
The long story...
Katherine didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer and illustrator. She did many other things first, but when she did eventually try it on for size it fitted like a glorious new skin.
She was born in Perth, Australia, where her mum grew up. Being the child of nomadic parents, at 3 days old she had her first passport and was on the plane back to Saudi Arabia where they were working at the time. After several years they returned to Australia and were attracted to the climate of North Queensland. They bought some land by the beach in a small coastal town called Mackay, where her father built a rather spectacular eco-home (which sits in the side of a cliff).
Katherine spent her childhood on the beach; swimming, fishing and creating secret languages to keep the boys out of her palm frond fort. She can still write in this language, however seeing as her best friend has forgotten it, Katherine can only write letters to herself.
School wasn't always easy for Katherine; her grade 2 teacher commented in an end of term report that she was 'too much of a daydreamer' to achieve much, but that on the positive side she had an excellent imagination. Katherine took this to mean she was meant to be a writer.
Katherine always loved to write and draw, and her mum still has boxes full of books and inventions she made as a child. If she wasn't making something she could be found curled up with a book, devouring most of the school library over the years. She also enjoyed sports, singing and drama, and went through some unfortunate stages of dancing (there is still evidence of her dressed as a liquorice all-sorts – not one of her finer moments).
In her last year of school, just before she was to leave home in search of what she was going to do with her life, her mum gave her a children’s book as a gift (Guess How Much I Love You). It was as if, unconsciously, her mum knew this was the world Katherine was to one day fall in love with.
Always having wanted to work with children, Katherine went on to study Occupational Therapy in Brisbane, Australia, specialising as a paediatric counsellor. She worked for many years in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and it was working with these incredible children and teenagers that lead her back to her writing. She later returned to university to further her illustrative goals, completing a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design at the QLD College of Art.
Her likes include dreams, running, Hayao Miyazaki, Radiohead and rabbits, and dislikes are not limited to road rage, bananas and exclamation marks (they’re evil).
Katherine now lives in Ottawa, Canada, but regularly returns to Australia to attend festivals and visit schools and libraries. She lives with her poet husband and their ridiculous but loveable dog.