I was born in Boston, Lincolnshire, England, the eldest of four girls. I grew up in a household of readers. That sounds peaceful, but it wasn't. Far from it at times, and thank goodness for my local library, a few steps from my school. It was a dark building, steel shelves, squeaking floors, a smell of dust, and a place where children could expect to be glared into silence at the slightest remark. I absolutely adored it. Anyway, to continue. I went to school and after school to St. Andrew's University where I studied Zoology and Botany (officially) and English lit and Fine Art unofficially. You could walk into any lecture in those good old days, and I did. I loved St Andrew's; for a few years it was my private, medieval, sea swept little heaven. After university I had various jobs. Also I started writing books. From the beginning I had incredible luck. My first book, The Exiles, won the Guardian Fiction Prize. As if that wasn't enough, my second, The Exiles at Home, won the Smarties, now gone, but then the most lucrative award for a children's book in the UK. This double success got me a US contract with Simon & Schuster, where I have remained ever since. Other books did well too, with Saffy's Angel winning the Whitbread (now the Costa), various shortlistings, and most recently, The Skylarks' War another Costa win. I am beginning to sound unbearable. In between these books, came many others. School readers, series books, fantasy, historical fiction, retellings of classics and fairytales, the bread and butter of life as a children's writer. I've lost count of how many now, dozens and dozens. You will find more details, together with news, backgrounds to books and stories, and snippets of what is coming next listed on my website: www.hilarymckay.co.ukRead more Read less
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