Born in Vancouver in 1952, Sarah Ellis is one of the most illustrious and admired writers for children in Canada today. As a child, she attended school in Vancouver and went on to study English and Library Studies at UBC, earning her Master’s Degree there. She continued her studies at SimmonsCollege in Boston where she studied at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. She became a librarian at the Toronto Public Library, then the Vancouver Public Library and the North Vancouver District Library. During her many years as a librarian she developed her storytelling skills and puppetry. She now writes reviews and is a sought-after lecturer nationally and internationally on writing and on Canadian Children’s books.
Among her many awards, she received the first Sheila A. Egoff Award in 1987 for her first book, The Baby Project. She also won the Sheila A. Egoff Award in 1997 and again in 2007. She won the 1991 Governor General’s Award for children’s Literature for her novel, Pick-up Sticks. Out of the Blue won the IODE Violet Downey Book Award and the Mr. Christie Book Award. In 1995, she was awarded the Vicky Metcalf Award for a Body of Work and in 1999, she was asked to be the first Writer-in-Residence children’s author at Massey College at the University of Toronto. She was also a finalist for the Norma Fleck Award for her non-fiction book, The Young Writer’s Companion. In 2007, Sarah won the $20,000 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for her novel, Odd Man Out. In 2012, she was the writer-in-residence at the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books in Toronto. This year she was one of two Canadian nominees for the international book prize, The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.
Sarah has served on numerous boards and juries, internationally and locally, which include serving on the board of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and Children’s Literature New England (current), as well as serving on juries for the Governor General’s Literary Awards, the Burt Award for Young Adult Literature, and various provincial book awards. Sarah also writes a book review column for Quill and Quire magazine and is a regular reviewer for The Hornbook.
Currently, Sarah travels widely, giving lectures on writing and children’s literature. She also teaches writing in a distance-education Master’s Degree program with Vermont College of Fine Arts while continuing to pursue her own writing in her home in Vancouver.
More information about Sarah Ellis can be found on her website http://www.sarahellis.ca/