Russian dolls
Michelle Harrison Michelle Harrison

About me

I was born in 1979 and grew up in Grays, Essex. Thanks to my two older sisters, stories have always been a big part of my life. As well as reading to me, they invented tales of their own and drew pictures to accompany them. I began writing short stories when I was about fourteen, and by the time I left school it was my ambition to become an author and illustrator.

When I was nineteen I moved to Stafford to study Illustration. I wrote the first few chapters of The 13 Treasures in my first year of university, but it wasn’t until I left that I began working on it seriously. I had lots of rejection letters before getting published.

After college I worked as a barmaid, in an art gallery, and as a children’s bookseller. Most recently I worked as an assistant editor for a children’s book publisher in Oxford. I now write full time, and recently returned to Essex. I have a son, Jack, and three cats called Marmite, Sorsha and Widdershins. You can find out more about me and my books in the FAQ.


  1.  I’m the youngest of three sisters. The Widdershins sisters from A Pinch of Magic are based on us.
  2.  When I worked in publishing at Oxford University Press, I got to work on a special edition of How to Survive Summer Camp by Jacqueline Wilson. There’s a section of quizzes, recipes and activities at the back of the book – all written by me! I got to meet Jacqueline, too, and she is lovely.
  3.  I first attempted to write a novel when I was about fourteen. It was about a phantom hitchhiker, and I wrote three chapters . . . but never finished it.
  4. I was an aunt at the age of eight.
  5. I’m a bit obsessed with black cats. I think it began with stories of Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat by Ursula Moray Williams.
  6. I can pinch with my toes.
  7. When I was a student, I was convinced the flat I lived in was haunted. I moved out after two weeks.
  8. When I worked at Waterstones I won a prize for being the best-dressed bookseller at one of the ‘Harry Potter’ launches. I dressed up as Professor Trelawney. Here’s the proof!
  9. I have a silver charm bracelet just like Tanya’s in The 13 Treasures.
  10. I own a crystal ball. Not to predict the future, but because I like the way it looks.
  11.  My favourite films are Willow and Titanic, which I went to see at the cinema six times!
  12. After one of my sister’s stories I dug in our back garden to look for evidence of a dead fairy. I didn’t find anything.
  13. The number 13 is my lucky number.