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Ursula Vernon
Ursula Vernon, at the Hugo Award Ceremony, Worldcon 2017 in Helsinki.jpg
Ursula Vernon accepting the Hugo Award for Best Novelette at Worldcon in Helsinki 2017.
Born Ursula Vernon
(1977-05-28) May 28, 1977 (age 45)
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, artist, webcomics
Pseudonym(s) T. Kingfisher
Notable works
Digger, Dragonbreath series
Awards Ursa Major Award; Hugo Award; Nebula Award; Mythopoeic Award; WSFA Small Press Award

Ursula Vernon (born May 28, 1977) is an American freelance writer, artist and illustrator. She has won numerous awards for her work in various mediums, including the Hugo Award for her graphic novel Digger, the Nebula Award for her short story "Jackalope Wives", and Mythopoeic Awards for adult and children's literature. Vernon's books for children include Hamster Princess and Dragonbreath. Under the name T. Kingfisher, she is also the author of books for older audiences. She writes short fiction under both names.


Ursula Vernon grew up in Oregon and Arizona and studied anthropology at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she first took art classes. She first became known for her webcomics and as a freelance artist, particularly for her works containing anthropomorphic animals. She then moved into writing and illustrating a number of children's books, her first being published in 2008, and then books for adults under the pseudonym T. Kingfisher. She decided to start using the pseudonym in order to avoid confusion amongst parents who were only familiar with her as a children's book author, and chose it because she loves kingfishers (and as an homage to Ursula K. LeGuin, who once joked that the initials "U.K." could stand for "Ulysses Kingfisher). She has published short fiction under both names, and has won a number of awards for them including the Hugo Award and Nebula Award. Vernon regularly attends conventions to exhibit and sell her work and has been a guest of honor at Midwest FurFest 2004 and 2009, and the Artist Guest of Honor at Further Confusion 2010. Vernon was the Author Guest of Honor for Mythcon 45 and a Guest of Honor at Eurofurence 20, both in August 2014. In 2017, she was the Author Guest of Honor at Arisia '17. Vernon podcasts with her husband, Kevin Sonney.


Books for younger audiences

Ursula Vernon is the author and illustrator of the Dragonbreath and Hamster Princess children's book series, published by Dial Books:

Dragonbreath series

No. Book Year ISBN
1 Dragonbreath 2009 0-8037-3363-1
2 Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs 2010 0-8037-3365-8
3 Dragonbreath: Curse of the Were-Weiner 2010 0-8037-3469-7
4 Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster 2011 0-8037-3525-1
5 Dragonbreath: No Such Thing as Ghosts 2011 0-8037-3527-8
6 Dragonbreath: Revenge of the Horned Bunnies 2012 0-8037-3677-0
7 Dragonbreath: When Fairies Go Bad 2012 0-8037-3678-9
8 Dragonbreath: Nightmare of the Iguana 2013 0-8037-3846-3
9 Dragonbreath: The Case of the Toxic Mutants 2013 0-8037-3847-1
10 Dragonbreath: Knight-napped! 2015 0-8037-3849-8
11 Dragonbreath: The Frozen Menace 2016 0-8037-3986-9

Hamster Princess series

No. Book Date ISBN
1 Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible August 18, 2015 0-8037-3983-4
2 Hamster Princess: Of Mice and Magic March 15, 2016 0-8037-3984-2
3 Hamster Princess: Ratpunzel October 18, 2016 0-8037-3985-0
4 Hamster Princess: Giant Trouble May 9, 2017 0-3991-8652-2
5 Hamster Princess: Whiskerella January 23, 2018 0-3991-8655-7
6 Hamster Princess: Little Red Rodent Hood September 25, 2018 0-3991-8658-1

Other children's books

  • Nurk: The Strange Surprising Adventures Of A (Somewhat) Brave Shrew (ISBN: 0-15-206375-7) was published by Harcourt in 2008 and released as an audiobook in 2009. It was Vernon's first published children's book.
  • Castle Hangnail (ISBN: 978-0-803741-29-4) (April 21, 2015) Dial Books

Books for older audiences

The following books were written as Ursula Vernon and published by Sofawolf Press.

Book Date ISBN
It Made Sense at the Time: Selected Sketches November 18, 2004 978-0-971267-06-0
Black Dogs Part 1: The House of Diamond March 1, 2007 978-0-976921-24-0
Black Dogs Part 2: The Mountain of Iron January 1, 2011 978-1-936689-03-3

Temple of the White Rat books

The following books were written under the name T. Kingfisher and take place in what Vernon calls "the Temple of the White Rat world."

# Book Date Publisher ISBN Ref
Clocktaur War #1 Clockwork Boys November 21, 2017 Red Wombat Tea Company ISBN: 978-1614504061
Clocktaur War #2 The Wonder Engine February 27, 2018 Red Wombat Tea Company ISBN: 978-1614504177
N/A Swordheart November 27, 2018 Argyll Productions ISBN: 978-1614504634
The Saint of Steel #1 Paladin's Grace February 11, 2020 Red Wombat Studio ISBN: 978-1614505211
The Saint of Steel #2 Paladin's Strength February 28, 2021 Red Wombat Studio ISBN: 978-1614505303
The Saint of Steel #3 Paladin's Hope October 9, 2021 Red Wombat Studio ISBN: 978-1614505518

Other books for older audiences

The following books were also written under the name T. Kingfisher.

Book Type Date Publisher ISBN ISBN Note Ref
Nine Goblins Novel October 27, 2013 Red Wombat Tea Company ISBN: 978-1310505768 (ebook)
The Seventh Bride Novel November 11, 2014 Red Wombat Tea Company ISBN: 978-1503949751 (47North paperback)
Bryony & Roses Novel May 18, 2015 Red Wombat Tea Company ISBN: 978-1614503996 (Argyll paperback, Nov 2017)
The Raven & The Reindeer Novel February 7, 2016 Red Wombat Tea Company ISBN: 978-1614503897 (Argyll paperback)
Summer in Orcus (web series) Novel September 2016 Red Wombat Tea Company ISBN: 978-1936689606 (Sofawolf hardcover)
The Halcyon Fairy Book Collection January 19, 2017 NESFA Press ISBN: 978-1610373265
Minor Mage Chapbook July 29, 2019 Argyll Productions ISBN: 978-1614505006
The Twisted Ones Novel October 1, 2019 Simon & Schuster ISBN: 978-1534429574
A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking Novel July 21, 2020 Argyll Productions ISBN: 978-1614505242
The Hollow Places Novel October 6, 2020 Simon & Schuster ISBN: 978-1534451124
Nettle & Bone Novel April 26, 2022 Tor Books ISBN: 978-1250244048
What Moves The Dead Novel July 12, 2022 Tor Nightfire ISBN: 978-1250830753


Vernon is the author of the Eisner Award-nominated and Hugo Award-winning webcomic Digger. A fantasy story featuring an anthropomorphic wombat, it is also available in six paperback books published between 2005 and 2011: Vol. 1 (ISBN: 0-9769212-2-7), Vol. 2 (ISBN: 0-9769212-6-X), Vol. 3 (ISBN: 0-9791496-3-0), Vol. 4 (ISBN: 0-9819883-3-4), Vol. 5 (ISBN: 0-9819883-9-3), Vol. 6 (ISBN: 1-9366890-6-5) and as Digger: The Complete Omnibus Edition (ISBN: 1-936689-32-4) published in 2013. She is also the writer and illustrator of the webcomic Irrational Fears and the short stories Little Creature and Little Creature and the Redcap.

Illustrations and art

Before becoming a published children's book author Vernon was primarily a freelance artist and illustrator and she still regularly produces new works of art. Her work includes the creation of digital art as well as the use of more traditional mediums such as watercolour and acrylics, with much of her more recent work being mixed media. Most of her art work is available as prints and Vernon has also taken commercial commissions such as book covers and game art.

The game Black Sheep designed by Reiner Knizia and published by Fantasy Flight Games uses art by Vernon on its playing cards. Her art work titled The Biting Pear of Salamanca became an internet meme in the form of the LOL WUT pear and has been made into a resin figurine due to its popularity. She has also designed labels for a series of tea and soap products.

Awards and nominations

Award Category Year Work Result
British Fantasy Award Horror Novel 2020 The Twisted Ones Nominated
2021 The Hollow Places Nominated
Dragon Award Horror Novel 2020 The Twisted Ones Won
2021 The Hollow Places Won
YA / Middle Grade Novel 2021 A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking Won
Hugo Award Graphic Story 2012 Digger Won
Novelette 2017 "The Tomato Thief" Won
Short Story 2018 "Sun, Moon, Dust" Nominated
2019 “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” Nominated
2021 “Metal Like Blood in the Dark” Won
Series 2022 The World of the White Rat Nominated
Locus Award Fantasy Novel 2017 The Wonder Engine Nominated
2022 Paladin’s Strength Nominated
Horror Novel 2020 The Twisted Ones Nominated
2021 The Hollow Places Nominated
Short Story 2021 "Fisher-Bird" Nominated
Young Adult Book 2021 A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking Won
Lodestar Award Young Adult Book 2018 Summer in Orcus Nominated
2020 Minor Mage Nominated
2021 A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking Won
Mythopoeic Award Adult Literature 2012 Digger Won
Children's Literature 2017 Castle Hangnail Won
2021 A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking Won
Nebula Award Andre Norton Award 2021 A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking Won
Short Story 2015 "Jackalope Wives" Won
World Fantasy Award Short Fiction 2015 "Jackalope Wives" Nominated

Vernon has also received the following accolades:

  • Her cover for Best in Show won the 2003 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Published Illustration.
  • For her work on Digger, Vernon was nominated for the 2006 Eisner Awards in the category Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition, and won the 2005 Web Cartoonists' Choice Award for Outstanding Black and White Art. Digger has also been nominated in the Outstanding Anthropomorphic Comic category.
  • "Jackalope Wives" (2014), "The Tomato Thief" (2016) and "Metal Like Blood in the Dark" (2020) won the WSFA Small Press Award.
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