My writing shed

Published on: 23 October 2016 Author: Cressida Cowell

The incomparable author and illustrator Cressida Cowell, creator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once universes, became our fourteenth Writer in Residence back in 2016. In this blog Cressida showed us her writing shed (pictured below) and spoke about how a suprising number of authors and illustrators write in sheds.

Cressida Cowell

An astonishing number of illustrators, painters and composers work or worked in sheds.

Roald Dahl, Virginia Woolf, Louis de Bernieres, Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Roger Waters, Liz Pichon, Barbara Hepworth (she had a bed in her shed, like me), Benjamin Britten and Philip Pullman all worked or work in sheds.

So why are creative people drawn to writing and creating in sheds?

A shed is a dreaming space, separate from the hum-drum march of everyday life, where the mind can turn in on itself, uninterrupted and un-distracted. It is an island, a miniature world where you are the god and King.

The inside of my shed is covered with photos of the real little island that was the inspiration for the How to Train Your Dragon books, and detailed maps of that imagined world. It is stuffed with books I admire, books I am using for reference, working materials, ink, paint, pencils of about a hundred different types, nice paper for working on.

There's a bed in the shed. That's important for the dreaming aspect of the creative process. Bed is a creative place.

Do watch the video below for my shed tour so you can see it for yourself.

Meet our latest Writer in Residence

Every six months, BookTrust appoints a new Writer in Residence to write blogs, run competitions and give us their own unique perspective on the world of children's books. Our current Writer in Residence is Rashmi Sirdeshpande.

Find out more