Jill Murphy

Original picture book artwork and black & whites from the Worst Witch series of books by Jill Murphy are available for purchase from Children’s Book Illustration.

Jill Murphy was born in London and attended the Ursuline Convent in Wimbledon which, together with the boarding school stories she enjoyed reading, provided much of the material and inspiration Miss Cackle’s Academy in The Worst Witch, which she started when she was 15. Mildred Hubble is very much a self-portrait! She put the book on hold whilst she attended both Chelsea and Croydon Art Schools, but picked it up again afterwards and it was published when Jill turned 24. It proved an instant success. However, it wasn’t until the publication of The Worst Witch Strikes Again that she devoted herself to full-time writing.

The Worst Witch stories have become some of the most outstandingly successful titles on the Young Puffin paperback list and have sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. They were also made into a major ITV series.

Jill is also well known for her picture books, in particular the stories about the Large Family which detail the domestic chaos of an elephant family. She was commended in the 1980 Kate Greenaway Medal for Peace at Last. A Quiet Night In was shortlisted for the same medal in 1994. Five Minute’s Peace won the 1987 Parents Magazine Best Books for Babies Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 1986 Children’s Book Award. All in One Piece was highly commended for the 1987 Kate Greenaway Award and shortlisted for the 1987 Children’s Book Award. The Last Noo-noo won the 0-5 category of the 1995 Smarties Book Prize as well as numerous other awards. In 1996 it was adapted as a play and performed at the Polka Theatre, London.

In 2007, Jill received an honorary fellowship from University College Falmouth. She currently lives in Cornwall with her son.

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