About Me

This is my official picture.

This is my official picture.

I grew up in Kingston, Ontario, the youngest of five children. I studied political science at Queen’s University and environmental studies at York University before moving to the Ottawa area to work in the conservation movement. Eventually, I quit office life to raise children and write freelance.

(You can still find fragments of my 20th-century work online, like this example – it’s true what they say about the internet being written in ink, not pencil. What you post today will be around in twenty years. Keep it in mind, people.)

I now live in Aylmer (Gatineau), Quebec with my husband and two children. We live in a little house with a big yard full of rodents, rabbits, and the occasional fox and falcon. It is very inspiring.

I wrote short stories for adults in my younger days and published about a dozen in literary journals. I’ve recently returned to that form. (You can read my YA story, “Cordelia’s Valentine,” on the CBC Canada Writes webpage, “Shakespeare High.” And look for my story “Team Leader 2040” in the 2013 anthology, Tesseracts 17: Speculating Canada from Coast to Coast to Coast.)

I began to write children’s fiction in 2003, and I’m starting to get the hang of it. My first novel, Walking Backward, was released in October 2009 from Orca Book Publishers and was nominated for many awards. I have since published a picture book, My Cat Isis, illustrated by Virginie Egger (Kids Can Press), a teen novel, All Good Children (Orca Book Publishers), and two middle-grade comedies, 26 Tips for Surviving Grade 6  and  28 Tricks for a Fearless Grade 6 (Lorimer). (You can read more about each of these titles on the My Books page.)

I now write for all ages, and my books have won several awards.

My second picture book, When Squirrels Stole my Sister, is in development with Fitzhenry & Whiteside. I should have another young adult novel out soon, if I can figure out the ending. And I will have more short stories for adults coming out in the months to come.

Glistening mushroom

A sample of my fungal photography

I enjoy yoga, quilting, and canoeing, but I’m not very skilled at any of those things. I make good cookies and great salads. I take awesome photographs of mushrooms.

I am grateful for the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

You can learn more about me and my books at www.catherineausten.com .


11 comments on “About Me

  1. love your books

  2. I love ur book Walking Backward! 🙂 I chose 2 write a report on it and i did a biography on u….I also love ur 26 Tips for Surviving grade 6!! I ❤ ur books!! 🙂

    • You have made my day, Sally. I’m so glad you love my books – I will have to keep writing more! That is a very cool thing to think of a student writing a report on my book for school. I love that idea. It makes me want to add some educational components to my website….

  3. You are most definitely accomplished. Wow. I look forward to reading your stuff. All the best.

    • Wow – thank you, Paula. That is so nice to hear. I sometimes (like always) nag myself for not having accomplished more – which nagging zaps any motivation I might have had. Your outlook is so much better. I’m going to chant that first sentence of yours to myself in the mirror each morning – and then, whoa, there’ll be no stopping me. Thanks so much for popping by.

  4. I really wish that you could come to my school for a presentation, I am working really hard to try and get my principal to try to get you to come. I am really looking forward to the MASC author’s and illustrator’s conference, if I can I will choose to go to your workshop first. Some of your books sound very interesting.

    • Thanks, Caileigh. I do a fun school presentation and I love meeting kids who love to read or write (or just share funny stories). I am looking forward to the MASC conference, too – I hope to meet you in my workshop! Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  5. Hello Catherine, I came across your blog because you mentioned a collection called Persephone’s Sisters. I am working on a similar but different project and soliciting written submissions. It is a non-profit initiative to raise awareness about preventing childhood traumas and abuses in support of a charity called Little Warriors.
    Can you please share the following event:
    Thank you for your time.
    Joan Lee Tu

  6. hi both me and my ex boyfriend have a fear of clocks
    This happens when I see a lot of clocks, old antique clocks are together in one place I’m ok with ticking it’s just when there’s lots of them together
    I have a need to get away from them like a physical revulsion
    I can’t look at them but I can feel them
    It’s such a weird feeling
    I also get this feeling in certain rooms in places I’ve never been before
    All I can say when it happens is, I don’t like it over and over
    Weird huh ? But this is how I feel
    I’ve never told anyone else but yesterday o was in an antique centre and it happened the guy I was with thought I was messing about until he saw the look of terror on my face I know it is irrational

    • You are not the only one, Eileen–and maybe it helps to know that. And yours is not the strangest phobia. (Not that I can think of a stranger one off the top of my head, but newspapers comes close.) At least your clock phobia is very specific and groups of clocks are likely only encountered in stores, so that’s more easily avoided than, say, clock towers, which are feared by some of the other people who’ve commented on this blog. A fondness for antiques might make avoidance difficult for you, alas. Admitting the problem is the first step and, yeah, it’s weird but not something anyone decent would judge you harshly for. I’d say it adds character. 🙂

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