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Holly Sterling

Holly is a a freelance children’s author and illustrator based in the North East of England. She loves to work by hand using a variety of different media including watercolour, pencil and different printing processes.

In 2009, Holly graduated from the University of Sunderland with a First Class Honors Degree in Illustration and Design. After graduating, Holly worked at design company, Big Bang Creative in Teesside creating designs for websites, e-commerce, branding and games.

In 2011 Holly decided to go back to university, to do a two year Masters at Edinburgh College of Art. She graduated with a Master of Fine Art (MFA) with Distinction in 2013. In the same year she was highly Commended for the Macmillan Illustration Prize and the winner of the Seven Stories/Frances Lincoln Illustration Competition.

After Holly completed her Masters Degree, she worked at a greeting card company in the North East of England designing greeting cards for charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, PDSA, RSPB, Epilepsy Action, Sue Ryder and Traidcraft. After a year in the industry, Holly decided to make writing and illustrating picture books a full-time commitment.

Holly now teaches Illustration and Design at Sunderland University alongside her illustration work.

Holly Sterling is represented by Arabella Stein — to work with Holly please email Arabella


Nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Award 2016 for ‘15 Things NOT to do with a Baby’, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

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Highly commended for the Macmillan Prize 2013 for ‘Hiccups!’, published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

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Selected as one of the 12 best Children’s books of 2015. “A humorous take on the conflicting emotions that younger siblings can inspire.” Independent on Sunday Book Of The Week

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“Frances Lincoln ensures cultural diversity is represented so these illustrations present a mixed race family. The style is fresh and young with beautiful colours and some lovely silly scenes” - Booktrust

‘Sterling runs her own dojos in the north of England as well as being a retired karate Grand Champion, and her passion for karate and the mental, physical and emotional wellbeing it confers is obvious in this delightful book. A perfect read for little ones who might be starting a karate or other martial arts class, it’s reassuring, kind and will dispel any potential nervousness.’ Review by BookTrust

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