Martin Waddell is a Northern Irish children’s author, best known for his books featuring anthropomorphic animals including the Little Bear series, Owl Babies and Farmer Duck. He also writes under the pen name Catherine Sefton for older children and young adults, including a series of books set against The Troubles—the violent sectarian conflict that took place in Northern Ireland from 1968 to 1998. He has written more than 200 books over his distinguished career, including eight children’s series; over 50 picture books; over 20 chapter books for children; over 20 books for older children under the Sefton pseudonym; the Otley series of novels for adults, adapted into a 1968 comedy spy movie starring Tom Courtenay and Romy Schneider; and numerous collections of short stories. His picture books alone have sold more than 18 million copies worldwide.

In 1989, Waddell and Barbara Firth won the Kurt Maschler Award, AKA the Emil, for The Park in the Dark—the award annually recognized one British “work of imagination for children, in which text and illustration are integrated so that each enhances and balances the other.” In 2004, Waddell was awarded the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Medal for his “lasting contribution” as a children’s writer. The award is the highest professional accolade available to a writer or illustrator of children’s books.