Ailsa Wild

I'm a writer, performer and community artist.

I make stories about characters who are vulnerable yet dogged, who find strength in adversity and hope in each other. I trust my audience.


About

I grew up reading everything I could lay my hands on. I loved Jo March writing stories and Nancy Blackett captaining her sailing ship.

I loved Frodo as much as Sam did.

I am a writer because of those characters. I want to make whole worlds and I want to give them to people.

When I was eighteen I moved to Melbourne and studied creative writing. I discovered feminist theory and acrobatics in my first week and both have given me bigger muscles. I train hard and I'm committed to being strong. I lift people above my head, I make circus shows and I write about how that feels.

Sometimes I think I should stop playing, and do something that will make a real difference in the world. But most of the time, I can tell this is worth it.

Photograph by Devika Bilimoria


Line drawings by Miri Badger


Publications

The Naughtiest Pixie in Disguise

Book One in an exciting new series - Published in July 2019

It's not easy being the only pixie at a human school, especially when you have to keep it a secret - but if anyone can do it, Jenifry Star can!

Jenifry Star is a very loveable, very naughty young pixie who decides to go to human school to make some friends. Everyone knows grown-up humans are terrifying; they hunt pixies, they stomp on their houses and even pickle pixies in jars. But surely human children are perfectly safe? Jenifry is willing to find out!

With her infectious sense of humour, knack for mischief and irrepressible charm, Jenifry must figure out the surprising rules of school and human friendship while keeping her pixie side hidden.

The Squishy Taylor Series

* Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters
* Squishy Taylor and a Question of Trust
* Squishy Taylor and the Vase that Wasn't
* Squishy Taylor and the Mess Makers
* Squishy Taylor in Zero Gravity
* Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom
* Squishy Taylor and the Silver Suitcase
* Squishy Taylor in the Mud
* Squishy Taylor Versus the Mayor
* Squishy Taylor and the Secret Envelope

In an apartment full of questions, on a street full of mysteries, lives Squishy Taylor. Squishy is the brave, ridiculous, big-hearted star of the series I'm currently working on. She and her step sisters (who she calls 'bonus-sisters', because they were the bonus she got when she moved in with her dad) launch themselves into a series of adventures featuring runaways, diamond smugglers, hackers, hauntings and their super-cute baby brother.

What the critics say:

Thank you @Ailsawild for creating such a cool children's character in Squishy Taylor. Authentic Aussie kid. My peeps love her.

- Annabel Crabb
As per usual she had 20 minutes to read before bed. 40 minutes later her light was still on! We eventually got her to turn the light out. She was totally hooked on the book. Unbeknown to us the next morning she was up before the sun and was again reading... She has always enjoyed reading but has never had such a strong connection to a book.

- Mother of Matilda (year 3)

For media enquiries, please contact: ameliacheeseman@hardiegrant.com.au

The Invisible War

The Invisible War is a gut-wrenching story of mud, microbes and mucus. The unseen enemy. Our Invisible friends.

This graphic novel is inspired by new scientific discoveries about the protective roles of viruses and bacteria living within our intestines. We are introduced to Annie, a nurse who faces the filth and horror of WWI and, simultaneously, we follow a journey into her body and bear witness to a battle between ancient microbial enemies.

The book team:

This project is a collaboration between artists, scientists, writers, educators and designers.

The core team were:

Author, Ailsa Wild
Illustrator, Ben Hutchings
Art Director, Briony Barr
Science Director, Gregory Crocetti
Science Advisor, Jeremy Barr

Accolades:

What the critics say:

"One of the best books I've ever read on that general theme."

- Robyn Williams ABC RN Science Show host.
"A candidate for the first truly modern 21st century graphic novel."

- Dorian Sagan, US science writer and son of science communicator legend, Carl Sagan
"This book is a brilliant example of what the human mind can produce."

- Harry, 14

Small Friends Books

The Small Friends Books series tells stories about symbiotic partnerships and cooperation between microorganisms and larger forms of life. Featuring microbes, molecules, mucus and more - we hope these books will nurture an appreciation for the role our small friends play - from bacteria & viruses, to archaea, fungi, protozoa & algae...

Small Friends Books are created through a collaboration between artists, writers, scientists, educators and designers.

I read your first book The Squid the Vibrio & the Moon to my four-year-old grandson and he was absolutely riveted. As soon as I finished, he demanded that I read it again. He was swept up by the story, the incredible characters in it and wonders of the relationships that have evolved. I look forward to the series to come.

- David Suzuki (Scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster)
The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon charmed me, educated me and astounded me, and if anything I'm even more charmed, educated and astounded by Zobi and the Zoox. It's tense, gripping and enthralling not only for children but for all ages...one of the most original and exciting book projects for children that I've seen for a long time.

- Jane Sullivan, author and literary critic from The Age newspaper


Performance

I have toured shows with Asking for Trouble Physical Theatre and Teacup Tumble, directed productions with Westside Circus and trained in physical theatre and clown. I love the many ways stories can be told on a stage.

Photograph by Eryca Green

Charlotte Raven

Charlotte Raven is a roving character based on early 19th century female traveling writers. Decked in an olive-green hoop skirt, poke bonnet and wielding a fountain pen, Charlotte writes letters and poems for festival crowds.

Quotes from people who have met Charlotte:

"It was like time-travelling and being totally in the moment at the same time. You encapsulated our 38 year-old love story in 11 evocative lines."
"You have a gift. You made me cry over the beauty and tenderness of the poem you wrote for me to give my friend, and she cried when she received it tonight. Love"
"Sometimes street performers are in-your-face and a bit scary. Not Charlotte. I loved watching people just be drawn to you."

Anthea's Garden

Anthea's Garden was a wonderful experiment, which started with music composed by Katherine Rawlings and grew into both a storybook and live production. It was published and first performed, in November 2015 and has since toured theatres, schools and churches in Melbourne. The illustrations are by the amazing Simon Howe.


Public Speaker and Workshop Facilitator

I have spoken at the Melbourne Writer's Festival, World Science Festival Brisbane, guest lectured at several universities and run workshops through Writers Victoria as well as appearing at many festivals, events, and schools around Australia.

Photograph by Lakshal Perera

I love facilitating story-making workshops with kids and adults that tap their creative energy and leave them inspired to keep making. I can lead a group of three hundred primary school kids to collaboratively write an absurd adventure story and mentor an adult novelist editing a first a draft.

I love enabling creativity.

I'm represented by Booked Out Speakers Agency.

What the critics say:

"What a great experience it was having Ailsa Wild do a workshop at our school. So much laughter, energy, fun and wide eyed thoroughly engaged students. While it was fantastic that the keen writers were able to learn about the process that a published author goes through, the greatest outcome was witnessing highly reluctant writers, both boys and girls, become enthusiastic story creators. What was even better was seeing this enthusiasm carry through the classroom as active, adventurous students realised that writing could be for them too.
Thanks so much Ailsa!
- Kerry, Year 3 teacher

Photograph by ArtPlay Staff

Kids' Own Publishing

I am a teaching artist with Kids' Own Publishing. I facilitate story writing and illustrating workshops with children and their communities. Kids' Own then publishes the books we develop - and they are utterly gorgeous.