A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Our Writing Spaces – Part 1

Zoe Marriott

Zoe Marriott

My workspace – more commonly known as The Writing Cave – is a tiny box room that sticks out above the front of my tiny house. It is the size of a closet (if I stand in the middle and reach out my arms, both sets of fingertips brush the walls), freezing cold in winter, swelteringly hot in summer, and I love it. It’s the first dedicated writing space that I ever made for myself and it has all my favourite possessions in it, including the antique secretaire that I write at and a copy of every edition of every published book I have written. Bliss.

Bethany Straker


My desk looks out onto fields and I can watch tractors at work and the birds in the trees. It’s inspiring, but the light can be blinding in the summer behind my screen – so I have to draw the blinds like a vampire.

Dan Smith


I have shunned the boxy study that now smells of children’s shoes, and become a ‘guerrilla’ writer. All I need is my MacBook, my mug, my notebook and COMPLETE AND UTTER SILENCE as I sneak from place to place. Early morning operations see me at the dining table. Later, manoeuvres take me to the kitchen for coffee and biscuit raids. Then, I storm the sitting room and set up base camp on the sofa. And that is how books get written in Danworld.

Isabel Atherton

Isabel Atherton

I’m currently in the process of relocating myself, my husband, and my agency to NYC in less than 3 weeks. Eek. Therefore my work space wouldn’t make much interesting viewing at present, as it is literally piled high with freight boxes. I currently reside by the sea and like to think of the glorious British coast as my source of inspiration and my work space.

Kate Ormand

Kate Ormand Work Space

I have a floor-to-ceiling poster behind the desk, which reads ‘If you want the rainbow you gotta put up with the rain’. On the wall beside it is a framed screen print of a very lonely fish. The desk itself is quite small, but I’ve managed to squeeze on a mac, a memo block with a wind-up Chewbacca toy on top, a pencil sharpener pen pot, a robot USB hub, and some Lego! I also have my Slytherin and Gryffindor blankets on the back of the chair.

Mo O’Hara

Mo O Hara

Until last summer my workspace was the kitchen table or one of the friendly cafes nearby. Then we got a loft conversion which gave me, for the first time, an actual bona fide study. It’s cozy but all of its messy, packed to the rafters,  sun filled,bookshelf stuffed, goldfish crammed space is mine!!!!!  And I love it!

Sangu Mandanna


I don’t really have a workspace anymore! I work pretty much anywhere I can: in bed, on the sofa, at my desk, on the floor. So my somewhat boring photo is of my laptop (where I write and research) and the iPad (where I make notes and sketch) because those two things do tend to stay constant no matter where I go. (I would have included my phone too, only I used it to take the photo!)

Kendra Leighton


I’m not particular about where I write, so long as it’s super-quiet and I can focus. Favourite places are the sofa and the kitchen table, though the kitchen can be dangerous — too much temptation to distract myself with food when I hit a tricky scene! I’ve probably written everywhere in my house that it’s possible to sit down.

Imogen Howson

Imogen Howson

Courtesy of a recent house extension, my workspace is now an actual office, rather than a tiny computer desk at the end of the kitchen.

Left to right: massive touchscreen PC, pen and tablet that I use instead of a mouse, plus wrist bandage to help with my RSI (occupational hazard). Pile of paper, glass with pens, box file for tax stuff, framed poem by my husband, various gifts from friends and souvenirs from writing conferences, router, phone, notebook and notepads, coffee, gold streamers to decorate tables at my book launch/birthday party this weekend!

Rachel Ward

Rachel Ward

I can write pretty much anywhere, but am particularly fond of writing on trains. At home I use the PC in the corner of our sitting room until I’ve written sufficient words for the day or I’m unproductive (too much internetting, staring into space or out of the window – admiring my tulips or taking a healthy/nosy interest in who is walking past). Sometimes relocating is a good way to refocus so I take my tiny laptop into the garden, off to bed or to the dining room or kitchen table. Alas, I’m not quite ready to invite the reader into my comfortably untidy home, so here’s a picture of the view from my desk featuring the tulips which have made me so happy this year.

12 comments on “Our Writing Spaces – Part 1

  1. kateormand
    June 12, 2013

    I love seeing and reading about where everyone writes! Beth – I’m jealous of your view!

  2. Pingback: Author Allsorts: Writing Spaces | Kate Ormand

  3. Abi Burlingham
    June 12, 2013

    These are lovely! I love to see people’s spaces too and hear about those little essentials.

  4. Isabel Thomas
    June 12, 2013

    I’m jealous! I want Bethany’s desk, Kendra’s living room and Rachel’s front garden, and for Kate to choose me some prints for my plain white walls!

  5. dansmithsbooks
    June 12, 2013

    A nosy poke into other peoples’ worlds. Nice sitting room, Kendra!

  6. kateormand
    June 12, 2013

    Yes! Kendra’s home is beautiful! Love your framed covers, Dan!

  7. Rachel Ward
    June 12, 2013

    Interesting stuff, which confirms what I already knew. Everyone’s house is tidier than mine!

  8. Dawn Kurtagich
    June 12, 2013

    I adore seeing where other people work! How varied they always are! ❤

  9. Kendra Leighton
    June 12, 2013

    Aw, thank you Dan and Kate and Isabel! LOVE all these photos. Dan, your writing routine sounds a lot like mine. Kate, adore the colourfulness of your corner.

    Bethany and Rachel — what fabulous views!

  10. Pingback: The Perfect Place to Write? | christopherdaviswrites

  11. Pingback: Life after the book deal: The Argh! to Zzzzz | Author Allsorts

  12. Pingback: Isabel Thomas » The Argh! to Zzzz of life after the book deal

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