Jackie Morris

Jackie Morris was born in Birmingham, studied art in Hereford, Exeter and Bath, and now lives and works in a house full of art and books on the coast of Wales. She has written and illustrated many magical books, including Tell Me a Dragon, The Quiet Music of Gently Falling Snow, The Snow Leopard, The Ice Bear, The White Fox, The Wild Swans and Queen of the Sky. She is illustrator and co-creator of The Lost Words (with Robert Macfarlane), which in turn inspired the musical project Spellsongs.

Jackie has a deep understand of myth, a profound love of the natural world, and a facility for creating magic, beauty and wonder wherever she goes. She's won the Tir na n-Og Award, the Books Are My Bag Readers' Award, the British Book Award, and was short-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

"Fairies are wild creatures and fairy stories are ultimately stories about the wild. I am surrounded by wild. Brambles in my garden, snowdrops that mark the turn of the world towards light. Wrens stitch through the tangles of thorns, blackthorns grow wild. I find inspiration in the tilt of a wing, the space between the fox and the hare, the fall of light, the flow of the sea. In the hunting of a hawk and the stoop of a falcon and a snake, warming itself on a rock. In the song of a bird, the folklore of the world, in song and in story. In the patterns of the sand on a wind-blown beach, the texture of the sky on a moonless night."

At the project's work sessions in Oxford and Sheffield, during group discussion and the making of music, Jackie's pencil or brush was always moving – conjuring witch hares and otter brides on the page, or King Herla with his hounds and his men, crumbling to dust as the geese fly overhead.

When talk and research grew too cerebral, and too removed from the green living world, she drew everyone back the experience of wonder – telling tales of white hawks, ghostly deer, and an artist (herself) who is also a bear. Jackie reluctantly left the project in January, swept up by other commitments...but her mark on it remains strong.