Gillian Cross

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Gillian Cross (born 1945) is a British author of children's books. She won the 1990 Carnegie Medal for Wolf and the 1992 Whitbread Children's Book Award for The Great Elephant Chase.

She also wrote The Demon Headmaster series of books that were later turned into a television series by the BBC in January 1996 and a sequel series in 2019.


Gillian Arnold was born in 1945 and she married Martin Cross in 1967. Their four children Jonathan, Elizabeth, Anthony, and Katherine, are now adults. She was educated at North London Collegiate School, Somerville College, Oxford and the University of Sussex.[1] Her first published book was The Runaway (1979). Her first ever book was Such a Nice Girl, but it didn't get published. Gillian Cross said "... it was terrible but I learned two important things from it ...."

Three years later she inaugurated the Demon Headmaster series of seven books (1982 to 2002). She also completed The Dark Behind the Curtain, a horror story illustrated by David Parkins and published by Oxford University Press.[2] It was highly commended for the 1982 Carnegie Medal[3][a] from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book by a British subject. A Map of Nowhere was highly commended for the 1988 Carnegie[3][a] and she won the Medal two years later for Wolf (Oxford, 1990).[4]

Cross held a number of informal jobs including assistant to a member of parliament. For eight years she also sat on the committee which advises ministers about public libraries. She is now a full-time writer who often travels and gives talks in connection with her work.[5] In early 2014, Cross became a patron for the Leamington Spa-based charity Cord, after their work in Sudan inspired her latest novel, After Tomorrow.[6]


  1. The Demon Headmaster (1982)
  2. The Prime Minister's Brain (1985)
  3. The Revenge of the Demon Headmaster (1994)
  4. The Demon Headmaster Strikes Again (1996)
  5. The Demon Headmaster Takes Over (1997)
  6. Facing the Demon Headmaster (2002)
  7. Total Control (2017)
  8. Mortal Danger (2019)
  1. The Dark Ground (2004)
  2. The Black Room (2005)
  3. The Nightmare Game (2006)


  1. ^ a b c d Cross was also a commended runner up twice, for Chartbreak (1986) and The Great Elephant Chase (1992).
    • Since 1995 there are usually eight books on the Carnegie shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners up through 2002 were Commended (from 1954) or Highly Commended (from 1966). The latter distinction was approximately annual from 1979, with 29 in 24 years including Cross alone in 1982 and three in 1988.
    • No one has won three Carnegie Medals (awarded for 1936 to 2011 publications). Seven authors have won two. Among the dozens to win one, Cross and Melvin Burgess also wrote two Highly Commended books (1966–2002). (Burgess was a runner up for The Cry of the Wolf when Cross won the medal for Wolf.)


  1. ^ Official biography Pt. 1
  2. ^ "The dark behind the curtain". Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Carnegie Medal Award". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  4. ^ (Carnegie Winner 1990) Archived 2 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  5. ^ Official biography Pt. 2
  6. ^ "Leamington charity inspired new Gillian Cross novel". Leamington Observer. Archived from the original on 17 June 2014.

External links[edit]