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 Squishy Taylor Series

Squishy books so far:
* 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

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 Squid, the Vibrio & the Moon

The Squid, the Vibrio & the Moon is a beautifully illustrated storybook about the symbiotic relationship between the Hawaiian bobtail squid and the bioluminescent bacteria (Vibrio fischeri) that help it glow in the moonlight.

Story written by Ailsa Wild, and Artwork by Aviva Reed.

Created by Briony Barr & Dr. Gregory Crocetti (Scale Free Network).

Some quotes from readers of the book:

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)
Congratulations, the book is superb...It's very clever and great fun.

- Robyn Williams (The Science Show, ABC Radio National)

Zobi and the Zoox

Zobi and the Zoox is a science-adventure storybook - about microscopic friends on the Great Barrier Reef. When their coral polyp home is under threat, Zobi (a brave rhizobia bacterium), teams up with a family of slow but steady Zoox (zooxanthellae). The ocean gets too hot, the coral is gravely ill and the other bacteria go crazy...so Zobi and the Zoox have to work together to try and save the day.

Zobi and the Zoox is the second science-adventure story in the Small Friends book series.

Story written by Ailsa Wild, and Artwork by Aviva Reed.

Created by Briony Barr & Dr. Gregory Crocetti (Scale Free Network).

Things people have said:

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
When I was reading the book (Zobi and the Zoox), I felt like I was a piece of coral near Darian, and I was just watching all these little things and animals and little business going on in the mucus and inside Darian. I really felt like I was a part of it.

- Bodhi Harper, 12

Anthea's Garden

Anthea's Garden was released in November 2015, published by Katherine Rawlings. The book feels like a bit of an experiment because it started with music composed by Katherine and grew from there. At the launch we performed the book and music live for an audience of two to eighty year olds and they were entranced. Here is one of the gorgeous illustrations, by the amazing Simon Howe.


Performance

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."

Photograph by Devika Bilimoria

Asking for Trouble Physical Theatre

Asking for Trouble Physical Theatre was formed by Christy Flaws and Luke O'Connor in early 2008 and I have been with them for the ride since the beginning. I have performed, directed, written grants and been the tour tech, caterer and blogger for Asking for Trouble.
Above is a picture of me, being a dog in Asking For Trouble's show Kapow!

Illustration by Paul Kalemba

Teacup Tumble Theatre

Teacup Tumble was created by myself and Kate Barnard - together we are an acrobatic, scientific, theatre-geek duo. Our first work, It's not Circus it's Science, has played around Melbourne, Regional Victoria and Tasmania since 2012. Our Second show Dimensional, inspired by the grade 3-4 geometry curriculum, was funded by Inspiring Australia and toured Regional Victoria in 2014.


Community

Ailsa is a charismatic and engaging public speaker available to speak at schools and events. She is represented by Booked Out Speakers Agency.

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.