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.
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 .