Colin Thompson

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Colin Thompson
Colin Thompson.jpg
BornColin Edward Willment
(1942-10-18) 18 October 1942 (age 76)
Ealing, Middlesex, UK
OccupationWriter, illustrator
NationalityBritish, Australian
GenreChildren's books, poetry, young adult novels, picture books

Colin Edward Thompson (born 18 October 1942) is an English-Australian writer and illustrator of children's books. He has had over 70 works published and also draws pictures for jigsaw puzzles. In 2004, Thompson was awarded the Aurealis Award in the children's long fiction category for his novel How to Live Forever.

Early life and careers[edit]

Colin Edward Willment was born on 18 October 1942 in Ealing, then in Middlesex and now in the west London, England. His mother changed his surname to Thompson when she remarried in 1953. Thompson states that he only met his father once when he was nineteen. Thompson attended boarding school in Yorkshire and later a grammar school in West London.[1]

Thompson studied art for two years at college in Ealing and Hammersmith, where he met his first wife. He worked as a silk-screen printer and a graphic designer for a while, before attending London Film School and working on documentaries for the BBC. After a divorce, he married a second time and after living briefly in Majorca in 1968 moved to the Outer Hebrides. He and his wife set up a business as ceramicists, continuing the profession after moving to Cumbria in 1975. Thompson has one daughter from his first marriage and two from his second. He moved to Australia in 1995 and gained Australian citizenship. In 1999 he married Anne, an Australian librarian who had arranged for him to visit a Sydney school.[1]

Writing and illustration career[edit]

Thompson's career as a writer and illustrator began quite late in his life. He first took black-and-white illustrations to a publisher in 1990, assuming a story would be written by someone else to go with his images. He was, however, instructed to write the story himself and re-do his illustrations in colour. His first picture book was published in 1991.[2] As of 2015, he has had over 70 books published. Many of them are books for children and are self-illustrated. He has also published a few series of novels for pre-teens and young adults.

Thompson's detailed, whimsical, colourful illustrations are popular as jigsaw puzzles and cross stitch kits with many of his works featured in jigsaws by Ravensburger and cross stitch kits by GeckoRouge.[3]


Thompson's first literary recognition came in 1995 when Ruby was awarded the English 4–11 Picture Book Award by the English Association.[4]

In 1999 Staircase Cat was shortlisted in the picture book category for the Children's Book of the Year Award by the Children's Book Council of Australia. In the following years, Thompson had success in this category four more times, winning the award for best picture book in 2006 with The Short and Incredibly Happy Life of Riley.[5] His titles that were finalists in other years are The Violin Man, Dust, and The Big Little Book of Happy Sadness, in 2004, 2008, and 2009 respectively.[5][6][7]

In 2004, Thompson's novel How to Live Forever was awarded the Aurealis Award in the children's long fiction category. The Floods Family Files was a finalist in the best graphic novel category in 2008.[8] Thompson was added to the International Board on Books for Young People honour list in 2002 for his illustrations in Falling Angels.[9]

Castles was awarded the Hampshire Illustrated Book Award in 2007.[10]



  1. ^ a b "Biography". Colin Thompson – Author and Illustrator. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  2. ^ "Working methods". Colin Thompson – Author and Illustrator. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  3. ^ "Jigsaw puzzles by Colin Thompson". Characters and themes. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  4. ^ "1995 Awards". English 4–11 Book Awards for the Best Books of 1994 — University of Leicester. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  5. ^ a b "CBCA Winners: 2000 – 2006". Children's Book of the Year Awards. Archived from the original on 5 January 2010. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  6. ^ "CBCA Winners: 2008". Children's Book of the Year Awards. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  7. ^ "CBCA Winners: 2009". Children's Book of the Year Awards. Archived from the original on 22 August 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Finalists and winners". Aurealis Awards. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  9. ^ "2002 Honour List". International Board on Books for Young People. Retrieved 2015-08-27.
  10. ^ "Hampshire Illustrated Book Award". Retrieved 2015-08-27.

External links[edit]