Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About Jill Murphy

Jill Murphy is one of the UK's best known and well-loved children's authors. Her The Worst Witch and The Large Family series have been giving kids fun bedtime reading for generations and if you haven't tried giving one of her books a read with your kids now's the time to get reading! Jill says she is able to write such amazing children's books because she feels as though she is still a child herself. Here are ten other interesting facts about Jill Murphy and her books...

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1. Jill is an author and illustrator and has been since she was very young.

She recalls stapling together a book she'd made at the age of six as one of her earliest memories.

2. Jill was happy in primary school but struggled during her time studying in a convent secondary school.

She didn't feel suited to strict academic style of teaching and felt discouraged from pursuing art and storytelling.

3. She attended not one, but two, different art schools.

After leaving school at sixteen, she went to Chelsea Art School and Croydon Art School where she improved upon her already strong art skills.

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4. Just two years after finishing art school she completed her first novel, The Worst Witch, at the age of 18 and began sending it off to publishers.

The Worst Witch, the story of a young student at a magical school who doesn't feel she quite fits in, was inspired by her time at the convent. After three major publishers turned it down she decided to leave the novel for a while and focused on other projects.

5. One of the publishers who turned down The Worst Witch, told Jill that they liked the idea but were rejecting it because they felt a school for witches would be a frightening concept for children.

Time really would have to tell for that one!

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6. She worked in a children's home and as a nanny for some time before she got a call from a publisher interested in The Worst Witch and her dream of being a published children's author seems possible once more. 

This then made her a published author at the age of 24 and The Worst Witch became an instant bestseller.

7. Jill had written and illustrated many books for children but her most well-known books are definitely her The Worst Witch and The Large Family series. 

Her books have been family favourites for bedtime reading for over 40 years now.

8. She has won several awards for her brilliant books. 

Her awards include the Best Books for Babies Award for A Piece of Cake and the Smarties Book Prize for The Last Noo-noo. She has also been nominated for the Kate Greenway medal twice and the Children's Book Award for Five Minutes Peace.

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9. The Worst Witch has been the basis for several TV films and series.

The first was a TV film broadcast in 1986, the next one was a series by ITV which was aired from 1998 to 2001, this series was then followed by a sequel series called Weirdsister College which saw the Mildred and Ethel take on college for witches. CITV then created another spin-off called The New Worst Witch which saw Mildred's cousin Hettie join Cackles Academy in 2005. The most recent adaptation is the 2017 CBBC series. 

10. After a recent recurrence of breast cancer (after being diagnosed and treated for it several years ago) she faced a new round of chemotherapy which has delayed her last book in The Worst Witch series.

The last book will be called First prize for the Worst Witch and after Jill's brave battles with cancer, we should expect this much awaited book soon. 


If you and your kids are fans of Jill Murphy then these are the fantastic facts about her you need to know. She has written so many amazingly popular books and continues to do, pleasing kids from around the UK with her enchanting stories and powerful imagination. 

  • AIXCV 5 years +
    5 years +
    • £5.39
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £0.60Save 10.00%
    The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy is back in an exciting, very funny 7th adventure. In The Worst Witch and the Wishing Star, Mildred, notoriously the worst witch at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, makes a wish on a shooting star - and to her great surprise it comes true! But it also spells trouble. Mildred's wish-come-true is a small dog but she has to keep him a secret from her friends, and especially the formidable Miss Hardbroom. It's a disaster waiting to happen ...and it does...!
  • WZW2 5 years +
    5 years +
    • £2.99
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £3.00Save 50.00%
    The Worst Witch managed to keep entire generations of young readers spellbound and now your child can read where it all began with this book, the first in the series.

    Written and illustrated by Jill Murphy, the book tells the story of how Mildred Hubble became a trainee at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, despite being one of the most clumsy children around - constantly getting her spells wrong and crashing her broomstick...

    Things get even worse when she turns Ethel, the teacher's pet, into her worst enemy. Funny, chaotic and easily readable, this is a great first chapter book for young readers!
  • FMZ2
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00Save 42.0000000000000005684341886080801486968994140625%
    A story that will resonate with parents who want nothing more than a break from it all, this is a stunning 30th anniversary edition of Jill Murphy's classic, Five Minutes' Peace.

    Mrs Large needs nothing more than five minutes of peace and quiet away from her boisterous children. She tries to take refuge in the bathroom so fills herself a nice, foamy bath and takes in her breakfast - but it's not long before this quiet time is shattered.

    A beautiful and hilarious observation of family life.

    Please note this does not come with a slipcase.
  • FYAN
    • £3.99
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £9.00Save 68.9999999999999960209606797434389591217041015625%
    The Large Family - Jill Murphy's elephant stars of the classic picture book, Five Minutes' Peace - star in this treasury of your child's first year at nursery.

    A charming memory book, it has plenty of space to record all of your favourite moments from your child's first year and spaces for photographs and pictures.

    A beautiful book that will be treasured for a lifetime, it has a special pocket to store drawings, souvenirs and mementos from their first year.
  • JLL2 Toddlers
    Toddlers
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00Save 42.0000000000000005684341886080801486968994140625%
    The hour was late and Mr Bear was tired. But he could not sleep - however he tried and wherever he tried.Snore, snore went Mrs Bear.Tick-tock, tick-tock went the clock.Would he never get to sleep? The familiar noises, repetition and beautiful illustrations make Jill Murphy's the delightful Peace at Last an all-time favourite bedtime story with children and adults everywhere. This is a beautiful refreshed edition of a much-loved picture book classic.