Short Biography

Helen Cooper is an author and illustrator whose work includes classic titles such as The Bear Under the Stairs, Pumpkin Soup, The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed and Tatty Ratty. Her books have been translated into 30 languages and won many awards including the Library Association Kate Greenaway Medal – twice.

More recently she has collaborated as a writer with other illustrators. Notably, Saving the Butterfly, illustrated by Gill Smith, was the first of these. She has also written and illustrated children’s MG fiction and the latest – The Taming of the Cat is out in October 2023.

Longer Biography

Helen Cooper was born in 1963 and grew up in Cumbria in a very rural area where milk came from the farm in a can, bears lived under the stairs, and it rained a great deal. There was no wifi, and the TV was tiny, and black and white, with only two channels, and even those only worked when the clouds were the right shape. Of course, this meant there was more time to read and write and draw and play the piano.

After qualifying to teach the piano she wrote and illustrated her first picture book which was published by Hamish Hamilton in 1987. Since then, she has written and illustrated a whole lot more which have been translated into over 30 languages and won many awards. Notably among these The Bear Under the Stairs, winner of the Smarties Young Judges prize; The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go To Bed; and Pumpkin Soup, both winners of the Library Association Kate Greenaway medal.

Her newest picture book, Saving the Butterfly, is a collaboration with the illustrator Gill Smith. Of late she has also written longer fiction for children. The Taming of the Cat is the second of these: written and illustrated in black and white by Helen and out in October 2023. Other work includes contributions to a paper on Astrobiology with members of the Zoology department of Oxford University. She lives in Oxford.

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Photographer : Ella Pallett