Gillian O'Reilly

Gillian O’Reilly has been interested in words ever since she ate the dust jacket off the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary when she was 11 months old. Throughout childhood, she continued to be a voracious consumer of books—although she eventually chose reading as the more conventional way of enjoying them.

Gillian was born in Montreal, Quebec, and lived briefly in Windsor, Ontario, before settling in Toronto. As a child, she enjoyed reading most of all, but also playing, ballet lessons, and traveling. Favorite books included works by Noel Streatfield, Enid Blyton, Rosemary Sutcliffe, Eleanor Farjeon, and Norton Juster, among others. Her very favorite book was The Mystery of the Missing Emerald, a kids’ mystery set in Toronto.

Gillian studied history and art history at the University of Toronto, where she also worked on the campus newspaper. That experience led to a job with a small Canadian publisher and she has worked in the book business ever since, the majority of that time as a freelance writer and as an editor of publications about the industry.

Gillian has only ever been interested in writing non-fiction, but loves using stories to convey information to the reader. Her goal in writing non-fiction for children is to intrigue, entertain and educate. Over the years, she has been inspired by the fabulous non-fiction produced by Canadian writers and the lively, innovative, and accessible ways it has been packaged.

Gillian loves to read about food and to cook, and enjoys sewing, camping, theater, and dance. She also likes traveling: Gillian and her family have seen every province in Canada and 30 states in the U.S. As well, she has visited a number of countries in Africa and Europe.

Editor of Canadian Children’s Book News, Gillian is also the author of two non-fiction books for young people: Slangalicious: Where We Got That Crazy Lingo (2004) and The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places (co-written with Cora Lee, 2007).

Her advice for aspiring authors and illustrators is to read, read, read, and write.

Annick Press books
by Gillian O'Reilly