Jackie French was born on November 29, 1953 in Sydney, Australia. She overcame dyslexia to write over 140 books for both children and adults. Her children's books include Diary of a Wombat, Christmas Wombat, Flood, and Fire. A Waltz for Matilda, published in 2016, won the Kids Reading Oz Choice (KROC) Award for fiction for years 7-9. She has also written 6 gardening books. She has received numerous awards including the 2000 CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers and the UK Wow! Award for Hitler's Daughter, an Aurealis Award for Cafe on Callisto, and ACT Book of the Year for In the Blood. She was chosen to be the Australian National Children's Laureate for 2014-2015 and was named the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. She also won a 2015 Excellence Award and the Redmond Barry Award, which honors contributions to the library and information sector. In 2016, she and illustrator Peter Bray won the ACT Writing and Publishing Award in the children's book category for their book, Horace the Baker's Horse and she was given the Pixie O'Harris Award for service to Australian children's books given by the Australian Book Industry Awards.