Skip to content


katharineKatharine Quarmby grew up in Norfolk in the ’70’s by a river and her fondest memories are of messing about in boats and swimming in the open air.

Her two most recent books for children are co-authored with the English Traveller, Richard O’Neill, and are published by Child’s Play International. One, Yokki and the Parno Gry, is about a magic horse, a young story-teller, Yokki and a hard-working Traveller family down on its luck. The other, Ossiri and the Bala Mengro, is about a young musician, Ossiri, her Traveller family, and a monster.She’s worked as a journalist for twenty years, off and on, travelling all over the world to make films. When her second child was born she decided to concentrate on print journalism and is now based mostly in the UK. She started to write about the dire state of school food after her first child came back from school asking why she was being fed worms (which turned out to be the infamous Turkey Twizzler). She was the first UK journalist to break the story of the parlous state of school catering with the Guardian in 2004. She started to write about healthy eating for children at around the same time.

Fussy Freya, a rhyming picture book about a fussy child who is served up a fantastical feast, was published by Frances Lincoln in 2008, and was a Scottish Book Trust’s Book of the Month.

Katharine developed Fussy Freya into a musical show for the Little Angel Puppet Theatre through the Hatch and Incubate programmes. But, even more excitingly, Katharine’s second book, celebrating gardening with children, Rosie Gets The Plot, has been developed into a wonderful schools show, which went on a limited tour with the Little Angel in Islington schools in 2013 and 2014. She is now developing a new puppet show with the Romany Theatre company.

Katharine was also a committed member of Scope’s In the Picture campaign (which has now ceased due to lack of funding), which aimed to get more disabled children into children’s literature. She wrote a story for 7-9 year olds with a deaf main character (in conjunction with visits and consultation with a deaf unit in a south London primary school) and is currently revising it before submission.

Katharine was adopted at birth from a Iranian/English mixed race background and thinks it is important to celebrate diversity in children’s books. Fussy Freya puts a mixed race family centre stage (although it is not the central theme of the book).


YOKKI AND THE PARNO GRY Child’s Play Library


FUSSY FREYA Frances Lincoln

Reviews for Yokki and the Parno Gry & Ossiri and the Bala Mengro.
Reviews for Fussy Freya


%d bloggers like this: