Jill Murphy: Obituary :: NEWS
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    Photo of Jill Murphy by Nic Knight

Jill Murphy: Obituary

23 August 2021 Share

Children's author and illustrator Jill Murphy, who created the beloved Worst Witch books, has died at the age of 72.

Murphy also published picture books including the Large family series, Peace at Last and The Last Noo-Noo.

Belinda Ioni Rasmussen, managing director of Macmillan Children's Books, said: "She had an unparalleled talent for storytelling through words and pictures.

"Without doubt, her picture books have become timeless children's classics."

Murphy came up with the idea for the first Worst Witch novel, which followed the exploits of Mildred Hubble at witch school, at the age of 14 and based it on her own experiences at a strict convent school.

After the success of The Worst Witch, she embarked on the Large family series, about a family of elephants. The first instalment was 1986's Five Minutes Peace and the series has sold more than five million copies around the world and been adapted for TV.

Peace At Last and All In One Piece were both commended for the Kate Greenaway Medal, while The Last Noo-Noo won the Smarties Prize for ages 0-5 in 1995.

Murphy died of cancer on 18th August 2021, according to her publisher. The author had first been diagnosed with breast cancer more than 25 years ago, at the age of 46.