Cressida Cowell

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Cressida Cowell

Cowell at the 2017 New York Comic Con
Cowell at the 2017 New York Comic Con
Born (1966-04-15) 15 April 1966 (age 56)
London, England
Alma materUniversity of Oxford
Notable worksHow to Train Your Dragon
Cressida Cowell signature.svg

Cressida Cowell MBE FRSL (born 15 April 1966)[1] is a British children's author, popularly known for the book series, How to Train Your Dragon, which has subsequently become an award-winning franchise as adapted for the screen by DreamWorks Animation.[2] As of 2015, the series has sold more than seven million copies around the world.[3]

In addition to her other publications, Cowell works with illustrator Neal Layton[4] in the ongoing series of Emily Brown stories. The first in the series, That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, won a Nestlé Children’s Book Award.

Personal life[edit]

The Hon. Cressida Cowell was born on 15 April 1966 in London. She is the daughter of Michael Hare, 2nd Viscount Blakenham. Her uncle, by marriage, is U.S Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer.

As a child, Cowell states she "grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland,"[5] and that it was during summers spent on the Inner Hebrides,[6] where she first began to develop her writing and drawing skills:

"I spent a great deal of time as a child on a tiny, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland...By the time I was eight, my family had built a small stone house on the island, and with the boat, we could nearly fish for enough food to feed the family for the whole summer.

"From then on, every year we spent four weeks of the summer and two weeks of the spring on the island. The house was lit by candle-light, and there was no telephone or television, so I spent a lot of time drawing and writing stories."[7]

Cowell attended Keble College, Oxford where she studied English, and she also attended Saint Martin's School of Art and Brighton University where she learned illustration. She studied at Marlborough College[8][9] 1982-84.[10]

Cressida Cowell presently resides in London[11] with her husband Simon, a former director and interim CEO of the International Save the Children Alliance; daughters Maisie and Clementine; and son Alexander.[12][13]

List of works[edit]


Cowell was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to children's literature.[17]

In 2021, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL).[18]


  1. ^ "F.A.Q.s - Cressida Cowell – Quick Facts". Cressidda Cowell - Official Website. Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  2. ^ How to Train Your Dragon (film)#Accolades
  3. ^ "Children's author Cressida Cowell scoops philosophers' award for fight against stupidity". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 June 2017.
  4. ^ "Neal Layton - Illustrator and Author".
  5. ^ "Cressida Cowell | World Book Day". Archived from the original on 21 December 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  6. ^ "Secret Scottish isle inspired dragon tales" BBC News, 30 March 2010.
  7. ^ "Cressida Cowell | F.A.Q's | Children's Author". Archived from the original on 10 October 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2012.
  8. ^ "Children's Laureate, and former Marlborough student, entertains at LitFest". The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald. Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  9. ^ "How to Train Your Pupils - Tes meets Cressida Cowell | Tes Magazine". Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  10. ^ "School Memories: Cressida Cowell". Retrieved 15 January 2023.
  11. ^ DavidHigham.Co.UK Archived 6 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine[dead link] link
  12. ^ "Official website – About me". Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 30 March 2010.
  13. ^ Hutton, Caroline (25 April 2021). "Author Cressida Cowell on how she proved her teachers wrong". The Sunday Times magazine. Retrieved 25 April 2021. (subscription required)
  14. ^ Chilton, Martin (8 October 2012). "How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel, by Cressida Cowell: review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  15. ^ "Error Page | BookTrust".
  16. ^ "Blue Peter Book Awards 2018". Retrieved 29 July 2018.
  17. ^ "No. 63135". The London Gazette (Supplement). 10 October 2020. p. B17.
  18. ^ Bayley, Sian (6 July 2021). "RSL launches three-year school reading project as new fellows announced". The Bookseller. Retrieved 6 July 2021.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by