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Cressida Cowell

Cowell at the 2017 New York Comic Con
Cowell at the 2017 New York Comic Con
Born 15 April 1966 (1966-04-15) (age 56)
London, England
Occupation Writer
Alma mater University of Oxford
Notable works How to Train Your Dragon


Cressida Cowell MBE (born 15 April 1966) is an English children's author, popularly known for the book series, How to Train Your Dragon, which has subsequently become an award-winning franchise as adapted for the screen by DreamWorks Animation. As of 2015, the series has sold more than seven million copies around the world.

In addition to her other publications, Cowell works with illustrator Neal Layton in the ongoing series of Emily Brown stories. The first in the series, That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, won a Nestlé Children’s Book Award.

Personal life

Cressida Cowell was born on 15 April 1966 in London. She is the daughter of Michael Hare, 2nd Viscount Blakenham. Her uncle, by marriage, is U.S Supreme Court justice Stephen Breyer.

As a child, Cowell states she "grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland," and that it was during summers spent on the Inner Hebrides where she first began to develop her writing and drawing talents:

"I spent a great deal of time as a child on a tiny, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland...By the time I was eight, my family had built a small stone house on the island, and with the boat, we could nearly fish for enough food to feed the family for the whole summer.

"From then on, every year we spent four weeks of the summer and two weeks of the spring on the island. The house was lit by candle-light, and there was no telephone or television, so I spent a lot of time drawing and writing stories."

Cowell attended Keble College, Oxford where she studied English, and she also attended Saint Martin's School of Art and Brighton University where she learned illustration.

Cressida Cowell presently resides in London with her husband Simon, a former director and interim CEO of the International Save the Children Alliance; daughters Maisie and Clementine; and son Alexander.

List of works

How to Train Your Dragon books

  • How to Train Your Dragon (2003)
  • How to Be a Pirate (2004)
  • How to Speak Dragonese (2005)
  • How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse (2006)
  • How to Train Your Viking, by Toothless the Dragon (2006)
  • How to Twist a Dragon's Tale (2007)
  • A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons (2008)
  • How to Ride a Dragon's Storm (2008)
  • How to Break a Dragon's Heart (2009)
  • How to Steal a Dragon's Sword (2011)
  • The Day of the Dreader (2012)
  • How to Seize a Dragon's Jewel (2012)
  • How to Betray a Dragon's Hero (2013)
  • How to Fight a Dragon's Fury (2015)
  • The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species (2014)
  • A Journal for Heroes (2015)

Emily Brown books

The Wizards of Once books

  • The Wizards of Once (2017)
  • The Wizards of Once: Twice Magic (2018)
  • The Wizards of Once: Knock Three Times (2019)
  • The Wizards Of Once: Never and Forever (2020)

Other books

  • Little Bo Peep’s Troublesome Sheep
  • Don’t Do That Kitty Kilroy
  • What Shall We Do with the Boo-Hoo Baby
  • There's No Such Thing as a Ghostie
  • Daddy on the moon
  • Hiccup the Seasick Viking


Cowell was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2020 Birthday Honours for services to children's literature.

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