Mark Burgess (children's author)

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Mark Burgess
Mark Burgess (children's author)
Mark Burgess in 2009
Born Mark Simon Burgess
(1957-04-26) 26 April 1957 (age 61)
Pen name Simon Goswell (two books only)
Occupation Artist, Writer, Computer Programmer
Language English
Citizenship United Kingdom
Alma mater Christ's Hospital
Slade School of Fine Art, B.A.
Genre children's literature
Spouse Rosemary J. Benson.

Mark Burgess (born 26 April 1957; pen name Simon Goswell for two books) is best known as an English author and illustrator of children's literature.[1] He has illustrated books by Tony Bradman and Martin Waddell. Among his most recent assignments, he illustrated Return to the Hundred Acre Wood, the authorized sequel of Winnie-the-Pooh.[2]

Burgess also designs greeting cards[3] and is a computer programmer.[4] Additionally, Burgess has colored and adapted the newer editions of various classic children's books that were drawn by the late E. H. Shepard[5] and Peggy Fortnum.[4]


Mark Simon Burgess was born in Chislehurst[6] on 26 April 1957[7] to John Frederick Orchard Burgess and Mona Goswell.[8] He was the third child among his four siblings. He attended boarding school at Christ's Hospital in Sussex, England[5] from 1968-74 in the Middleton B house.[9]

In 1975, Burgess began studying at the Slade School of Fine Art of the University College London.[5][10] Graduating from there with a B.A. in Fine Art in 1979,[11] he began working as a freelance author and illustrator of children's books, magazines and greetings cards (of which he has designed over 500).[11][12] He also briefly worked at the London Zoo as well as in a library in Cambridge.[5]

The first book Burgess illustrated is Martin Waddell's Harriet and the Crocodiles, published in 1983.

He currently lives in Taunton, Somerset[13] and is married to Malawi-born artist Rosemary Benson, who is his senior by 9 years[14][15] and who also attended the Slade School of Art from 1977 to 1979.[10]


While Burgess has written and illustrated various books in his own style, his ability to reproduce the style of other (deceased) artists has been noted on more than one occasion. For example, the book Dogs' Night, by Meredith Hooper, begun with Allan Curless as the illustrator. However, since Curless died before its completion, Burgess finished the job such "that most readers would be hard-pressed to identify which artist did which pictures", according to Lauren P. Gattilia for Education World.[16]

Burgess also illustrated Return to the Hundred Acre Wood in the style of E. H. Shepard, whose work he admired. When speaking of his work on that book, Burgess said:[17]

"I approached this project with great trepidation. In my worst moments I wonder if Shepard would absolutely hate what I'm doing. That would be dreadful, I absolutely revere him."


As a writer[edit]

Chloe Spooner from The Bookbag praised Burgess' Where Teddy Bears Come From (illustrated by Russell Ayto) writing, "The author Mark Burgess has created a wonderful world for children here in this book, and the extra dash of Christmas magic just makes an already lovely story all the more charming."[18]

As an illustrator[edit]

Burgess shared a 2002 Blue Hen Book Award in the Picture Book Winner category for his and Allan Curless' illustrations in Dogs' Night.[19]

Burgess' illustration of Return to the Hundred Acre Wood in particular received good reviews in The Sunday Times as well as in Fantasy Book Review and[5][20][21] In The Times, Ann Thwaite wrote, "With the new book, Burgess seems indispensable."[20] Jana Siciliano of, wrote:[21]

"...illustrator Mark Burgess has studied the pen-and-ink-and-watercolor elegance of Ernest H. Shepard's original illustrations and created a beautiful book filled with iconic images rendered in such exacting fashion that one, for a moment, questions whether or not they are lost Shepard masterpieces (a two-page spread with all the characters playing cricket towards the end is worthy of framing). It's one thing for someone to copy the language of a simple and elegant story, but it is something else entirely to do the same for famous illustrative accompaniment."

However, Susan Perren, children's book columnist of The Globe and Mail, had reservations on the drawings found in Return to the Hundred Acre Wood. Perren wrote, "This bad-tempered donkey might say, too, that Mark Burgess, as good an illustrator as he might be, is no Ernest Shepherd, and anyway, where are all those lovely line drawings we enjoyed so much in the original?"[22]

Burgess also illustrated the 2016 authorised sequel to Winnie-the-Pooh, The Best Bear in All the World and the 90th anniversary special Winnie-the-Pooh Meets the Queen.


As of 2010, he has written and illustrated over 30 of his own books, and has illustrated an additional 36 books by other authors.[23]


  1. ^ Mark Burgess - Penguin Group (USA) Authors. Penguin Group (USA). Accessed: 6 September 2010.
  2. ^ Flood, Alison "After 80 years, Pooh returns to Hundred Acre Wood in sequel". The Guardian, 10 January 2009
  3. ^ Helwig, David "Big news from White River's favourite SOB." 15 July 2009.
  4. ^ a b Burgess, Mark. Mark Burgess - Artist and Writer - biography
  5. ^ a b c d e Lee. Return to the Hundred Acre Wood review. Fantasy Book Review. 10 November 2009.
  6. ^ Personal communication from M. Burgess.
  7. ^ "Burgess, Mark." MARC Display. Library of Congress Authorities. Accessed: 10 September 2010.
  8. ^ The Burgess Family from Bratton, Wiltshire, England:Information about Mona Goswell.
  9. ^ Blue Yellow Pages (Last Names beginning with B) Archived 25 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. Christ Hospital's Old Blues' Association.
  10. ^ a b "UCL Art Collections is undertaking a digitisation project of its holdings from the Slade School of Art..." UCL Art Collections. University College London. JULY 2009.
  11. ^ a b "About the Author" Teddy Time. Amazon.
  12. ^ "Mark Burgess." Children's Authors. Answers Corporation, 2006. 06 September 2010
  13. ^ Mark Burgess - Frances Lincoln Publishers
  14. ^ Bernard Dolman (2000), Who's who in art, 29
  15. ^ "UK Electoral Roll 2002."
  16. ^ Gattilia, Lauren P. It's a Dog's Life: Three New Dog Books to Stimulate Kids' Imaginations. Education World(.com). 8 March 2000.
  17. ^ Kennedy, Maev (4 October 2009). "Pooh sequel returns Christopher Robin to Hundred Acre Wood". The Guardian. p. 15. Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  18. ^ Spooner, Chloe "Where Teddy Bears Come From by Mark Burgess and Russell Ayto." The Bookbag. October 2008.
  19. ^ Previous Blue Hen Book Award Winners!. Children's Services Division of the Delaware Library Association.
  20. ^ a b Thwaite, Ann Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus, illustrated by Mark Burgess
  21. ^ a b Siciliano, Jana Review: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood. Access date: 6 September 2010.
  22. ^ Perren, Susan "Milne redux? ‘Pooh!' we say". The Globe and Mail. Published on 19 Nov. 2009. Updated on Tuesday, 24 Nov. 2009.
  23. ^ Mark Burgess bibliography

External links[edit]