My name is… Katherine Battersby. If you put my first and last name over the top of each other you’ll notice that four of the letters are exactly the same. Which can make signing books tricky as sometimes I forget which name I’m writing and end up signing ‘Kathersby’. It’s extremely embarrassing to misspell your own name.
I am a… mischief maker, a wanderer, a carefully planned adventurer, a lover of travel and tea and stories in all their forms. I am also an author and illustrator. I’ve always loved books and honestly I feel like the luckiest person in the world that I now get to make them for a living.
As a kid, I was… small. Yes, I was physically small, but I also felt small. I recall vividly what it was like to feel small in a big world. Writing and drawing has always been my way of trying to make sense of this. Even as an adult, I still feel small sometimes – all of my books explore this experience in some way or another. Cranky Chicken, for all her crankiness, ultimately feels a bit lost and alone. Luckily she has a cheerful worm to help balance things out (I would recommend everyone find a cheerful worm).
Writing is… joy. Not always — sometimes it’s just hard work. But it’s the joy that keeps me coming back. Creating something from nothing makes me feel a bit like a magician and when you get it just right it really is magic. Writing has always been my little sanctuary — a place to hide out when the world gets too much.
Drawing is… harder than writing. For me, anyway! As an illustrator I wear a lot of different hats. Some days I’m a costume designer, creating entire wardrobes for my characters to wear. Some days I’m a counsellor, figuring out what all my characters are feeling (and why). Some days I’m a set designer, creating furniture and rugs and living spaces. I even have to be an architect, designing homes and cities and entire worlds. I don’t always feel clever enough to do what I do, but I love to learn and this job is all about learning.
Reading is… escape. I love visiting other worlds and getting to experience lives and characters and events that I never could have otherwise. But when I say escape, I don’t mean an escape from the big things that happen in life. When I read I want to be moved. I want to be challenged. I tend to seek out books that ask something of me.
Books are… a mirror. Anyone can pick up the right book and feel seen and heard and understood. Or at least they should be able to. This is why it’s so important to have diverse books from diverse creators. Every child (and person) deserves the chance to see themselves in a book.
Did you know… that chickens are terrifying? It’s true. They have sharp beaks and beady little eyes and they’re unpredictable. I was chased by many chickens in my childhood. This is where the idea for Cranky Chicken came from. Although as I was making the book I realised I can relate to the cranky worldview more than I care to admit…
You can find me… anywhere there’s water. I grew up overlooking the ocean and have always been drawn to the sound of running water. I don’t live near the ocean anymore but I seek out the river everyday. If you can’t find me there, try here: