TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Jonathan Emmett

Jonathan Emmett

Jonathan Emmett was born in Leicestershire in 1965, the son of a rig fitter and a primary school teacher. He was fascinated with books from an early age and as a small boy, he reorganized the spare bedroom of his house into a library for his parents' books.  But instead of ordering the books by subject or author, they were organized by size and colour, which made more sense to him at the time.

Some of Jonathan’s earliest memories are of visiting the local library. The picture books he borrowed then, including "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak, "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss and "Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson have a great influence on the picture books that he now writes. But like many children of his generation, the author who made the biggest impression on his early childhood was Roald Dahl.

It wasn't until Jonathan was about fourteen years old that it occurred to him that he might write for a living. He tried to make the covers of his school rough books look like the covers of novels, producing a whole "Ruf Notes" trilogy as well as "A Complete Guide to Ruf Notes" each with its own reviews and biographical details on the inside covers and publisher's blurb on the back. Of course, there was nothing inside the books - except the rough notes Jonathan took during lessons!

It was while Jonathan was at college, studying architecture, that he first started developing his skills as a writer and illustrator, illustrating poems and lyrics that he’d written.  Pleased with the results, he found himself spending more and more time on writing and illustration.

Although he qualified as an architect, Jonathan found the job unsatisfying and began using his spare time to pursue a career in children's books, eventually going full-time in 1995, a few months before his thirtieth birthday.

In addition to writing picture books such as “Bringing Down the Moon”, “Someone Bigger”, “Pigs Might Fly” and “Ruby Flew Too”, Jonathan also writes and paper-engineers pop-up books. His books have won several awards including the Red House Children’s Book Award “Book for Younger Children” for “Pigs Might Fly” and the Kiekeboekprijs for “Bringing Down the Moon”.

He lives in Nottingham with his wife Rachel, and his children, Max and Laura.