Maria Nilsson grew up in Sweden but moved to London in 2001. She studied BA Illustration at the University of Westminster, achieving a first class honours degree. After graduating she worked as a freelance illustrator until the birth of her children. When they started toddling, Maria took up her pencil again and in 2009 was shortlisted for the Picture This competition (Macmillan and Waterstones' search for a new illustrator for an exclusive Julia Donaldson story). She still loves illustrating her own stories, as well as illustrating for others. Maria is a debut talent whom we have great hopes for. She lives in south London with her husband and two children.