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Nicola O'Byrne

Nicola was born in Swaziland and has lived in Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Kenya, Scotland, England and California. After studying Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art and earning a Masters in Printmaking from UAL, she now thoroughly enjoys working full time as an illustrator and author from her sunny studio in Los Angeles. Nicola is the creator of Open Very Carefully, which won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in 2014 and has been published in 19 languages. Her clients include Bloomsbury, Nosy Crow, Scholastic, and Walker Books.

Nicola has a great love of illustration and stories. She wrote her first picture book at aged 5; a fractured fairy tale that made its way into her school library. Her illustrations are character driven and fuelled by coffee.

Nicola O’Byrne is represented by Arabella Stein — to work with Nicola please email Arabella


“‘Children will love the anarchic approach to storytelling offered by this picture book…The beautifully-designed pages and high production values make this surprising story extra-special.” — Booktrust for ‘The Last Book Before Bedtime’ by Nicola O’Byrne

“A deliciously funny new picture book by Scottish Children’s Book Award winner Chae Strathie and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner Nicola O’ Byrne.” — Toppsta for ‘Gorilla Loves Vanilla’ by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne.

“It’s never too early to introduce your child to intertexuality, and so it is that the big bad wolf from every big bad wolf story there has ever been makes an appearance to help rabbit write a story, with a quite unexpected ending.” — The Independent for ‘Use Your Imagination’ by Nicola O’Byrne.


‘Bad Cat’ picked for the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge 2020

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Winner of Shrewsbury Bookfest’s Picture Book Award 2018 with ‘Dear Dinosaur’, published by Scholastic.

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Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2018 — WINNER for ‘Gorilla Loves Vanilla’ by Chae Strathie, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne

Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2014: Best Picture Book — WINNER for ‘Open Very Carefully’ by Nicola O’Byrne

Oldham’s Brilliant Book Awards 2014 — WINNER for ‘Open Very Carefully’ by Nicola O’Byrne

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