Jill Murphy< Back to author list
Jill Murphy was born in London and attended the Ursuline Convent in Wimbledon which, together with the boarding school stories she enjoyed reading, provided much of the material and inspiration Miss Cackle's Academy in the The Worst Witch, which she started when she was 15. Mildred Hubble is very much a self-portrait! She put the book on hold as she attended both Chelsea and Croydon Art Schools, but continued to write it whilst living in a village in Togo, West Africa for a year and then whilst working as a nanny back at home. The book was published when Jill turned 24 and proved an instant success. However, Jill continued working as a nanny until the publication of The Worst Witch Strikes Again prompted her to devote herself to full-time writing. The Worst Witch stories have become some of the most outstandingly successful titles on the Young Puffin paperback list and have sold more than 3 million copies. They were also made into a major ITV series. She is also well known for her picture books and was commended in the 1980 Kate Greenaway Medal for Peace at Last. A Quiet Night In was shortlisted for the same medal in 1994. She is best known for the very popular Mr and Mrs Large picture books, which detail the domestic chaos of an elephant family. Five Minute's Peace won the 1987 Parents Magazine Best Books for Babies Award, as well as being shortlisted for the 1986 Children's Book Award. All in One Piece was highly commended for the 1987 Kate Greenaway Award and shortlisted for the 1987 Children's Book Award. The Last Noo-noo won the 0-5 category of the 1995 Smarties Book Prize and in the same year was shortlisted for the English 4-11 Outstanding Children's Book of the Year, going on to win the 1996 Sheffield Children's Book Award. It won the 1996 Gateshead Gold Award. In the same year it was adapted as a play and performed at the Polka Theatre, London.