Kenneth Oppel

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Kenneth Oppel
Kenneth Oppel L3 Writer's Conference.JPG
Oppel in 2013
Born (1967-08-31) August 31, 1967 (age 49)
Port Alberni, British Columbia
Occupation Writer
Nationality Canadian
Period 1985–present
Notable works
  • Matt Cruse series
  • The Silverwing Saga
Notable awards Governor General's Literary Award
2004 Airborn
The Times Children's Novel
2005 Skybreaker
Spouse Philippa Sheppard
Children 3

Kenneth Oppel (born August 31, 1967) is a Canadian children's writer.


Oppel was born in Port Alberni, British Columbia, he spent his childhood in Victoria, British Columbia and in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has also lived in Newfoundland and Labrador, England, and Ireland.

Oppel's first book, Colin's Fantastic Video Adventure, published by E.P. Dutton in 1985,[1] was written while he was a high school student at St. Michaels University School in Victoria. He attended at the same time as actors Andrew Sabiston and Leslie Hope, fellow writers John Burns and Bert Archer, and just before the NBA's Steve Nash and Flickr founder Stewart Butterfield. Oppel forwarded the newly completed manuscript to a family friend who knew Roald Dahl, who in turn recommended it to his agent. Oppel went on to receive his Bachelor of Arts degree in cinema studies and English at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, writing The Live-Forever Machine (1992) during his final year. Oppel moved to England and wrote a number of books during that period, gleaning several ideas while working at typing students' papers. Oppel worked as an editor at Quill and Quire, the trade magazine of the Canadian publishing industry, from 1995 to 1996.

He is probably best known for the trilogy, comprising Silverwing, Sunwing and Firewing. A fourth entry, Darkwing, serves as a prequel.

Another recent series is Airborn (2004), its sequel, Skybreaker (2005), and Skybreaker's sequel, Starclimber (2008). They are set in a parallel Earth of dirigible travel, following the adventures of the main characters Matt Cruse and Kate de Vries. Starclimber, the third book in the series, was released in Canada in September 2008, in the United States in December 2008, and in the United Kingdom in May 2009.

Oppel has won numerous literary awards, including the 2004 Governor General's Literary Award for English language children's literature, a Printz Honor Award from the American Library Association (both for Airborn) and The Times Children's Novel of 2005 (for Skybreaker, named a 2006 Best Book for Young Adults by the American Library Association).

Oppel is married to Philippa Sheppard, a Shakespeare scholar and instructor at the University of Toronto.[2][3] They have three children, Sophia, Nate, and Julia, and live in Toronto, Ontario.

Selected works[edit]

Young adult fiction[edit]

  • Half Brother (2011)
  • The Boundless (2014)

The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein[edit]

  • This Dark Endeavor (2011)
  • Such Wicked Intent (August 21, 2012)

Silverwing series[edit]

Main article: Silverwing (series)

Airborn series[edit]


  • The Live-Forever Machine (1990)
  • Dead Water Zone (1992)

Children's fiction[edit]

Barnes and the Brains[edit]

  • A Bad Case of Ghosts (1993)
  • A Strange Case of Magic (1994), or A Bad Case of Magic
  • A Crazy Case of Robots (1994), or A Bad Case of Robots
  • An Incredible Case of Dinosaurs (1994), or A Bad Case of Dinosaurs
  • A Weird Case of Super-Goo (1997), or A Bad Case of Super-Goo
  • A Creepy Case of Vampires (2002)


  • Colin's Fantastic Video Adventure (E. P. Dutton, 1985)[1]
  • Cosimo Cat (1990)
  • Follow That Star (1992)
  • Cosmic Snapshots (1993)
  • Galactic Snapshots (1993)
  • Emma's Emu (1995)
  • Peg and the Whale (2000)
  • Peg and the Yeti (2004)
  • The King's Taster (2009)
  • The Nest (2015)

Adult fiction[edit]

  • The Devil's Cure[4] (2000)


  1. ^ a b "Colin's fantastic video adventure". Library of Congress Catalog Record. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  2. ^ Philippa Sheppard faculty profile ([dead link]
  3. ^ "300-Level Courses". English University of Toronto ( Academic year 2012–13. Retrieved 2014-02-13.
  4. ^
Other sources

External links[edit]