Sally Gardner grew up and still lives in London. Being dyslexic, she did not
learn to read or write until she was fourteen and had been thrown out of
several schools, labeled unteachable, and sent to a school for maladjusted
children. Despite this, she gained a degree with highest honors at a leading
London art college, followed by a scholarship to a theater school, and then
went on to become a very successful costume designer, working on some notable
productions. After the births of twin daughters and a son, she started first
to illustrate and then to write picture books and chapter books, usually with
fairytale- or otherwise magical subject matter. She has been called 'an
idiosyncratic genius' by Londons Sunday Times.
I, Coriander is her first book for older readers. Her stories for middle readers include Lucy Willow and the popular Magical Children series, The Strongest Girl in the World, The Invisible Boy, The Boy with Magic Numbers, The Smallest Girl in the World, The Boy with the Lightning Feet, and The Boy Who Could Fly. She has also written and illustrated picture books including The Fairy Catalogue, The Glass Heart, The book of Princesses and Playtime Rhymes.
This biography was last updated on 07/06/2011.
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Sally Gardner talks about how she was labelled as unteachable because dyslexia prevented her from learning to read until she was fourteen years old
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first picture book for Orion called The Little Nut Tree in 1993. It had more pictures in it than words, but the word that really struck a chord was the one written on the contract, and it said "Author." I have been really lucky to have in my publishing life an editor, Judith Elliott, who believed The Little Nut Tree was only the start. And I'm delighted to say she was right.
Who were your favorite authors as a child and who are your favorite authors now?
Charles Dickens, E. Nesbit, [Rachel Compton,] Jane Austen. The first book I ever read was Wuthering Heights. I only started to read when I was fourteen due to severe dyslexia, so a lot of childhood books I only enjoyed later. One of my most favorite author/illustrators now, and has been since my teens, is Edward Gorey. Everything by him is just a slice of heaven. Also in the best beloved section: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Alain-Fournier.
What is the one book that has influenced you most throughout your life?
Great Expectations. I simply love it; it has light and dark in ...
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