Author of the Day

The Author of the Day programme celebrates some of the most acclaimed, successful and exciting writers working today. We welcome them to London and provide them with a platform to showcase their work and celebrate their achievements.

Edna O'Brien

Edna O’Brien has written more than twenty works of fiction. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Irish PEN Lifetime Achievement Award, the American National Arts Gold Medal, the Frank O’Connor Prize, the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature and the David Cohen Prize for Literature. Edna was born and raised in the west of Ireland, but has lived in London for many years.

Afra Atiq

Afra Atiq is an Emirati poet, spoken word artist, and PhD candidate. With a passion for languages, she writes and performs in a blend of bilingual and trilingual poems in English, Arabic, and French.

She has been featured on numerous international platforms including in Kuwait, India, Germany, and the UK. Afra has notably showcased her work at the Dubai Opera, Louvre Abu Dhabi, PublisHer summit, and Abu Dhabi Art.

Community and education are at the core of everything Afra does and she dedicates much of her time to school visits. She's a founding member of Untitled Chapters (a thriving community of Emirati women writers).

Academically, Afra has a master's degree in diplomacy and is conducting research as a doctoral candidate on Instagram and the Arab literary ecosystem. She has also published research on reading in the UAE.

Cressida Cowell

Current Waterstones Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell is the number one bestselling author-illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once book series, and the author of the Emily Brown picture books, illustrated by Neal Layton. She has sold over 11 million books worldwide in 38 languages. How to Train Your Dragon is also an award-winning billion dollar DreamWorks film series, and a TV series shown on Netflix and CBBC; The Wizards of Once has also been optioned for film by DreamWorks. Cressida is an ambassador for the National Literacy Trust, a trustee for World Book Day and a founder patron of the Children's Media Foundation.

Cressida has won numerous prizes for her books, including the Blue Peter Book Award, the Ruth Rendell Award for Championing Literacy, Gold Award in the Nestle Children's Book Prize, the Hay Festival Medal for Fiction, and Philosophy Now magazine's Award for Contributions in the Fight Against Stupidity.

She grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland and she now lives in Hammersmith with her husband, three children and a dog called Pigeon.

Discover our past authors

We have celebrated many authors over the years, so here's your chance to discover our past Authors of the Day and their work.