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Katherine Battersby

Author, Illustrator

Katherine is a children’s writer and illustrator whose first picture book, Squish Rabbit, is published in Australia, the US, China and beyond. Squish Rabbit, which The New York Times says “is bound to win children’s hearts”, is shortlisted for the 2012 Crichton Award and is also a Notable Book in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. In September 2012, the adorable bunny returns in Brave Squish Rabbit.

Where were you born?

I was born in Perth, however being the child of nomadic parents, at three days old I had my first passport and was on the plane back to Saudi Arabia (where they were working at the time). After several years my family returned to Australia, drawn to the climate of north Queensland where they bought some land on a cliff in a small coastal town. Dad was a big dreamer and built our house into the side of the hill, overlooking the ocean. As a teenager it was always an argument as to who would mow the roof.

What other jobs have you had?

Essential oils salesperson, Christmas gift wrapper, medical courier (I once delivered a leg in a jar), waitress, bounty hunter, children’s counsellor. I’m also a bad liar … can you tell?

What themes are recurring in your work?

I tend to write about misfits; the kids in life that are often overlooked and yet have incredible things inside of them. This likely comes from my years working as a paediatric occupational therapist, where I counselled children and teens with emotional and behavioural difficulties. I got to work with some of the most amazing young people and was constantly inspired by their stories.

What have been the highlights of your career?

Being awarded a Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship in 2010 for my writing, which is a dream come true, as I love to travel. It has allowed me to fly to New York to visit my publisher and research a young adult novel I’m working on. I also have several other research trips planned to England and Europe.

Where have your works been published?

My first picture book, Squish Rabbit, is published in Australia (University of QLD Press) and the US (Viking, Penguin). I have had many short stories published in The School Magazine and anthologies such as Short and Scary (Black Dog Books). I might also have a dusty box at home full of books I created as a wee thing, however I’d never show them to you, even if you paid me in chocolate.

What are you passionate about?

I have always scribbled words and images. It was my way of processing the world when things were hard to talk about. I’m also passionate about animation (particularly Japanese), design, books, family, rabbits, laughter and eliminating exclamation marks (they’re evil).

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I adore rabbits. I don’t really know why. I desperately want one, but we’re not allowed them in QLD. I’m considering getting a magician’s license to get around it. Shazam.

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