Kenneth oppel

I was born in Port Alberni, a mill town on Vancouver Island, British Columbia but spent the bulk of my childhood in Victoria, B.C. and on the opposite coast, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At around twelve I decided I wanted to be a writer. I started out writing sci-fi epics then went on to swords and sorcery tales and then, during the summer holiday when I was fourteen, started on a humorous story about a boy addicted to video games. 

Photo credit: Mark Raynes Roberts


It turned out to be quite a long story, really a short novel, and I rewrote it the next summer. We had a family friend who knew Roald Dahl - one of my favourite authors - and this friend offered to show Dahl my story. I was paralysed with excitement. I never heard back from Roald Dahl directly, but he read my story, and liked it enough to pass on to his own literary agent. I got a letter from them, saying they wanted to take me on, and try to sell my story. And they did.

Colin's Fantastic Video Adventure was published in 1985, in Britain and Canada and the U.S, and later in France. It was easily the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me -- and it gave me the confidence to think I could make writing my career.

I did my BA at the University of Toronto (a double major in cinema studies and English) and wrote my second children's novel The Live-Forever Machine in my final year, for a creative writing course. I married the year after graduation and spent the next three years in Oxford, where my wife was doing doctoral studies in Shakespeare. Since then we've lived in Newfoundland, Dublin -- and Toronto, where we now live with our three children.

My books include the Silverwing trilogy, which has sold over a million copies around the world, and Airborn, winner of the 2004 Governor General's Award for children's literature, and the Michael L. Printz Honor Book award from the American Library Association. 

Half Brother has won both the Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year for Children Award. as well as their Young Adult Book Award -- the first time in the awards' history the same title has won both honours. 

My latest books are Inkling and The Nest (which won the 2016 CLA Book of the Year for Children Award).


A selection of
Awarding Bodies


Book Ken to speak at your schools, libraries and conferences!

If you are interested in making a booking, please email him at: kenneth.oppel@sympatico.ca or click here to learn more