Anna Kemp

Children's Author

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BOOKS so far...



Fantastic Frankie

‘...vigorously comic, and the plot's twists and turns are expertly judged...a bonkers treat' 

The Financial Times

Dogs don't do ballet

'This hilarious and beautifully illustrated book will have young readers giggling time and time again'


Rhinos don't eat pancakes

'Anna Kemp's heart-warming story is told simply but with humour and emotion.'

 The Scotsman

The Worst Princess

‘Told in verse, and wonderfully illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, this picture book is so funny it could be safely recommended for all ages’ 

The Independent on Sunday

Sir Lilypad

 'Fantastic colours and perfectly captured characters compliment Kemp's perfectly paced hilarious text ... Faultless family fun'.


Dave, The Lonely Monster

'Ogilvie’s lilac-skinned, knobbly ogre is a delightful protagonist, and Kemp’s succinct rhymes are both funny and thought-provoking.'

The Guardian



Hello! I write picture books and children's fiction. But I guess you already know that, so here are some other things about me...


  • I was quite a 'slow reader' at school. Got there in the end though!

  • When I'm not writing stories I teach French literature (stories in French) to university students. 


  • My books have been adapted for television (Bookaboo, CBeebies), puppetry (Little Angel), dance (Ballet Black), orchestra (LSO) and theatre (New Writing North, Little Blue Monster).


  • My books have been nominated for prizes including the Booktrust Early Years Award (2010), The Roald Dahl Funny Prize (2010, 2012), The Waterstones Children's Book Prize (2011, 2013), Oscar's Book Prize (2015), and The Dundee Picture Book Award (2019).​ Thank you for letting me show off.


  • I am proud to be Writer in Residence for magical children's pen-pal Banjo Robinson. 


  •  I met a mermaid at the swimming pool this morning. She told me to say hello.​


     (Psssst!... I made one of those up. Can you guess which one?)



I love to visit schools, libraries and bookshops and am available for festivals, speaker events and workshops.


Past author events include the Hay festival, the Edinburgh literary festival, a creative writing workshop at the V&A Museum of Childhood, an introduction to the Barbican's Family Film Club, and a Q&A with (my heroine!) Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

I am thrilled to have been invited to a number of schools and have given readings and story-making sessions for Early Years through to Middle School. I also enjoy running creative writing workshops for adults who would like to write for children. 


Please note: I am currently taking a break from author visits and will update when I am available again.



'Brilliantly engaging!'

'Really, really enjoyable and interactive'

'Great fun for adults and kids'

'Fascinating, helpful, life-changing - this will completely change the way I write!'

'Has inspired me to attack my latest picture-book with renewed vigour!'

'The workshop inspired me and my child to view writing in a positive and fun way'

'I'm a writer - I can't tell you how helpful this workshop was'

'I want to bring back everything I've learned to my class and teacher!'

'The Inspiration Machine is amazing!!!! I have learned so much'.



(Testimonials collected at a creative writing workshop for adults and children held at the V&A Museum of Childhood.)

Anna Kemp came along to Flo's The Place in the Park as part of our Once Upon a Park event series. She did a fantastic, animated reading of two of her books. The children were fixated and when they got to dance with scarves and practice ballet it got even better! Anna was a very expressive, animated facilitator who was great with the kids. The drawing exercise went down very well too Thanks so much for a lovely morning!

Makena Lohr (Flo's The Place in the Park Community Centre, Oxford)

We were hugely lucky to find and entice Anna Kemp to our 2019 Dolphin School Book Fest in May. Her picture books are very popular with their wonderful eye-catchingly colourful and flamboyant illustrations by Sara Ogilvie and her very positive and funny poetry-style stories. The pupils were absolutely delighted to have a chance to meet Anna and to be involved in her comprehensive workshop and story-telling sessions. Thank you Anna – we hope you’ll be back at Dolphin School with more wonderful stories in years to come.


Kirsty Harrison (Dolphin School Library). 




Writing for children

I offer creative-writing workshops for schools, libraries and other venues (see Visits and Events).

Higher Education

I am a specialist in twentieth and twenty-first century French literature with fifteen years experience in Higher Education. After my postgraduate study, I was appointed as the Hamilton Junior Research Fellow in French at The Queen’s College Oxford. I have taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at King’s College London, the University of Oxford, the University of Southampton and, most recently, was a Senior Lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. My first book Voices and Veils: Feminism and Islam in French Women’s Writing and Activism was one of four books shortlisted for the 2011 Gapper Book Prize for the best book published in French Studies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. More recently I was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship to complete work on my current book  Life as Creative Constraint: Autobiography and the Oulipo. This book looks at the autobiographical writing of members of the French experimental writing collective the Oulipo. I have now left full-time academia to focus on my writing for children. However, I continue to teach in Oxford where I live, most notably on the Exeter College Summer Program for which I offer a lecture series on post-war French writing and film.



I have taught translation from French into English throughout my fifteen-year career in Higher Education. I welcome opportunities to translate French language texts and would be particularly keen to specialise in the translation of writing for children.



For visits and events please get in touch via Authors Aloud

(Please note: I am currently taking a break from visits and will update when I'm available again. Thank you)

For TV, film and stage enquiries please contact Claire Israel at David Higham Associates.

For other enquiries please contact Caroline Walsh at David Higham Associates.

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