Cressida Cowell grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland. The name of the island is a secret, but it was such a small island it wasn’t really big enough to have a name at all. There were no roads or shops or electricity on the island, just one house and a storm-blown wilderness of sea-birds and heather.
When Cressida wasn’t on the island, she was going to school at Marlborough College in Wiltshire where she met and became close friends with Lauren Child, a fellow author/illustrator and the creator of TV’s Charlie and Lola. Cressida and Lauren remain close friends. Indeed Lauren is godmother to Cressida’s daughter Clemmie.
After school, Cressida obtained a BA in English Literature from Oxford University, a BA in Graphic Design from St Martin’s and an MA in Narrative Illustration from Brighton.
Cressida wrote and illustrated her first picture book, Little Bo Peep’s Library Book for Hodder Children’s Books in 1998. Her first novel for eight to twelve year olds, How to Train Your Dragon, was published to popular and critical acclaim in 2003. ‘The next big thing in children’s literature,’ wrote the Independent on Sunday. ‘Irresistibly funny, exciting and endearing,’ said The Times.
How to Train Your Dragon has now been published in over thirty languages. Film rights of How to Train Your Dragon were sold to DreamWorks Animation in 2003 for a substantial sum and the filmed version was released into cinemas in March 2010.