Jill Murphy - Author Picture

Jill Murphy - Author

One of the World Book Day 2014 Authors Jill Murphy was born in London in 1949 and attended the Ursuline Convent in Wimbledon. From a very early age she was drawing and writing stories, and was already putting books together (literally, with a stapler) by the time she was six. she enjoyed reading boarding school stories, and together with her experience of convent school life, this provided much of the material and inspiration Miss Cackle's Academy in The Worst Witch, which she started when she was 15. Mildred Hubble is very much a self-portrait! She went on to study at Chelsea, Croydon and Camberwell Schools of Art. Jill worked in a children’s home for four years and as a nanny for a year, before becoming a freelance writer and illustrator. 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 worldwide. They were also made into a major ITV series.

Jill is also well known for her picture books, in particular the stories about the Large Family which detail the domestic chaos of an elephant family. She was commended in the 1980 Kate Greenaway Medal for Peace at Last. A Quiet Night In was shortlisted for the same medal in 1994. 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 as well as numerous other awards. In 1996 it was adapted as a play and performed at the Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, London. In 2007, Jill received an honorary fellowship from University College Falmouth. She currently lives in Cornwall with her son.

As a child

Jill was born and brought up in London and says that she can’t remember a time she wasn’t a storyteller/illustrator. “My earliest memory (my mum tells me I was two), is sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by sheets of drawings.” By the age of six, Jill was stapling her own little illustrated storybooks together – her mum kept them all and she still has them today! “It’s great fun to see them all these years later,” she says. “You can see how my handwriting and drawing improved as time went by.” Jill loved primary school, where, she says “I could always draw my way out of trouble if we had a tricky history project!” – but she went to a very strict academic convent which she hated for the first year. “The nuns didn’t care that I could draw fantastic pictures,” she says. “Where was my physics homework!?”

As an adult

Jill left school at sixteen, and went on to attend both Chelsea Art School and Croydon Art School. Two years later, she finished her first novel The Worst Witch, about a little witch who doesn’t fit in at her new school – a story she says was heavily based on her experiences at the convent. She sent it off to three big London publishers, who all turned it down, and Jill “put it in a drawer and decided to concentrate on other things instead.” After a spell working as a nanny and in a children’s home, which she loved, Jill had a phone call from a small publisher interested in The Worst Witch. It was printed when she was twenty-four, sold out almost immediately, and Jill knew for sure she wanted to follow a career as an author/illustrator.

As an artist

Jill has written and illustrated numerous books since The Worst Witch was published, including three more books about little witch Mildred Hubble. Jill’s work has won her numerous prizes and awards; her first picture book, Peace at Last was Commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal and she was shortlisted for the same Medal for A Quiet Night In, the first of the Mr and Mrs Large picture books about the endearing domestic chaos of an elephant family. The other titles are A Piece of Cake, Five Minutes Peace (Winner of the Best Books for Babies Award and shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award), All in One Piece (Highly Commended for the Kate Greenaway Award and shortlisted for the Children’s Book Award) and Mr Large in Charge. The stories have now been adapted for television. The Last Noo-noo, about a small monster called Marlon, won three awards, including the Smarties Book Prize, and Marlon returns again in the acclaimed All For One.

If you like Jill Murphy you might also like to read books by J K Rowling.

Featured Books, with extracts, by Jill Murphy

Five Minutes' Peace
Jill Murphy
Celebrate thirty years of the Large family in this stunning anniversary edition of a modern picture book classic. There can't be a mum in the country who doesn't identify with Mrs Large, wrapped in her comfortable dressing gown, doing her...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 04/02/2016 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Five Minutes' Peace
Jill Murphy
There can't be a mum in the country who doesn't identify with Mrs Large, wrapped in her comfortable dressing gown, doing her best to get away from her children for just five minutes peace (and managing a scant three minutes...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Board book | Released 01/12/2015 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Five Minutes' Peace
Jill Murphy
There can't be a mum in the country who doesn't identify with Mrs Large, wrapped in her comfortable dressing gown, doing her best to get away from her children for just five minutes peace (and managing a scant three minutes...
Lovereading Price: £7.99 - Saving £2.00 (20%) Format: Hardback | Released 01/10/2015 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Reader ReviewedThe Worst Witch
Jill Murphy
A beautiful colour gift edition of an absolute classic and an essentialtitle for every child's bookshelf. The trials and tribulations of a disastrous new girl at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches a gloriously witchy boarding school, The Worst Witch has...
Lovereading Price: £8.79 - Saving £2.20 (20%) Format: Hardback | Released 04/09/2014 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Reader ReviewedThe Worst Witch and The Wishing Star
Jill Murphy
Mildred, notoriously the worst witch at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, makes a wish on a shooting star - and to her great surprise it comes true! But it also spells trouble. Mildred's wish-come-true is a small dog but she...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 06/02/2014 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star
Jill Murphy
The classic character Mildred Hubble, the most disaster-prone young witch at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches is back with a wonderful new adventure to celebrate 40 years since she first started at the school! It's the beginning of a new...
Lovereading Price: £7.99 - Saving £2.00 (20%) Format: Hardback | Released 03/10/2013 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Worst Witch
Jill Murphy
The trials and tribulations of a disastrous new girl at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches a gloriously witchy boarding school, The Worst Witch has magic galore. Unfortunately for Mildred Hubble, most of it has a habit of going badly wrong....
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 05/09/2013 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch
Jill Murphy
Long before Harry Potter got to Hogwarts, Mildred Hubble had been learning similar skills at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Unfortunately, Mildred is the very worst pupil in the school. Now back for a second year, things aren't going any...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 05/09/2013 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Peace at Last
Jill Murphy
A new board book edition of the picture book classic, in a size that's perfect for little paws! A timeless storybook classic full of bright colourful pictures that accompany a simple, repetitive text. Children will delight in all the wonderful...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Board book | Released 14/03/2013 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Worst Witch to the Rescue
Jill Murphy
Full of witchcraft, wizardry and black magic, The World's Worst Witch is a suitable alternative if you're fed up of re-reading your Harry Potter. Any child who remembers their first day at school will sympathise with Mildred Hubble. Usually a...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 02/10/2008 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Worst Witch To The Rescue
Jill Murphy
Full of witchcraft and wizardry and black magic, The World's Worst Witch is a suitable alternative if you're fed up of re-reading your Harry Potter. Any child who remembers their first day at school will sympathise with Mildred Hubble. Usually...
Lovereading Price: £7.99 - Saving £2.00 (20%) Format: Hardback | Released 04/10/2007 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Worst Witch Collection
Jill Murphy
Millions of young readers have fallen under the spell of Jill Murphy's Worst Witch called Mildred Hubble. This collection of 5 classics in one collection, beautifully contained in a sturdy slipcase is the perfect present for 5-9 year olds. Mad-cap...
Lovereading Price: £13.59 - Saving £3.40 (20%) Format: Trade-only Material | Released 04/10/2007 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Peace at Last
Jill Murphy
A timeless storybook classic full of bright colourful pictures that accompany a simple, repetitive text. Children will delight in all the wonderful sound effects and Mr Bear's reaction to the noises that stop him going to sleep until...you'll find out...
Lovereading Price: £5.59 - Saving £1.40 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 06/07/2007 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Last Noo-Noo
Jill Murphy
A must for every child who loves their dummy and every parent who has ever tried to get rid of it! Marlon the monster loves his dummy or noo-noo as he calls it. However many tricks his mother and particularly...
Lovereading Price: £3.99 - Saving £1.00 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 02/01/2006 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Worst Witch Saves The Day
Jill Murphy
Perfect as a treat for Halloween. Long before Harry Potter arrived at Hogwarts, Mildred Hubble was a delightfully hopeless pupil at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches and Wizards in the very first Worst Witch story. Who cares that she's the...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 06/10/2005 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

The Worst Witch
Jill Murphy
The trials and tribulations of a disastrous new girl at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches a gloriously witchy boarding school, The Worst Witch has magic galore. Unfortunately for Mildred Hubble, most of it has a habit of going badly wrong....
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Paperback (b Format) | Released 25/11/2004 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

Bad Spell for the Worst Witch
Jill Murphy
Long before Harry Potter got to Hogwarts, Mildred Hubble had been learning similar skills at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches. Unfortunately, Mildred is the very worst pupil in the school. Now back for a second year, things aren't going any...
Lovereading Price: £4.79 - Saving £1.20 (20%) Format: Paperback | Released 28/07/1983 Info Extract Wishlist Compare price Buy

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