Author details

Gill Arbuthnott


I was born and brought up in Edinburgh, attending James Gillespie’s High School when it was still all-girls and staffed by a fabulous collection of eccentric blue-stocking spinsters. I couldn’t have had a more inspiring education!
I went on to study Zoology at St Andrew’s University, then to do research at Southampton University, but I wasn’t very good at it.
I came back to Edinburgh (with a sigh of relief) and started teaching Biology. I never intended to stay in teaching, but I found to my great surprise that I really enjoyed it, so I’m still doing it!
My first book was published in 2003 and since then I’ve combined writing and teaching (which means I’ve had to give up doing housework and being tidy).
I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was at primary school, and I’m still amazed it’s happened. Not many people are lucky enough to have their dreams actually come true!

About writer's work

I write both fiction and non fiction for children. My non fiction books are popular science. This is because I passionately believe that science is fascinating, but a lot of people get put off it if all they read is exam focussed text books in school. Science should be thrilling!

My fiction is fantasy, but you won’t find any elves or magic swords or people who turn out to be lost princes in it. I like my fantasy with real, ordinary people in it!

Websites featuring the author

Double Cluck | Floris Books Chaos | Barringstoke | Fraser Ross

Current events and projects

I’m happy to do readings, author talks about my books, and talks about the writing process generally. I also offer a range of interactive presentations based on my science books. Crazy Creatures is suitable for P5-7, Mad Scientists and Germ Wars for P6-S1, and Life Story (on DNA) for P7- S2.


Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Dundee, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Midlothian, Perth and Kinross, Scottish Borders, Stirling, West Lothian

Age groups


LL funded


BRAW network


Author type




Books written

A Beginner's Guide to the Periodic Table

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
A Beginners Guide to the Periodic Table is a mind-blowing guide to the elements that make up the periodic table, fully explaining their starring role in the world and clears away any confusion or appr


Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
Illustrated by: Keith Brumpton
'She plunged beneath the surface, her eyes blind in the murky, green water: dived again and again until she couldn't take another breath. There was no trace.

What Makes You You?

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
What Makes You You? is a mind-blowing introduction to the building blocks of life, DNA, what it is, how it works, and what we can do with it.

Dark Spell

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
15-year-old Callie Hall has just found out she's a witch, and things keep going wrong. Sometimes her mind seems to make things happen, things she can't control.

Lost at the Zoo

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
Rory the pet mouse goes on a trip to Edinburgh Zoo in Sam's pocket. He leans out to get a better look and falls into the anteater's enclosure.

The Keepers' Daughter

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
Ten years ago, Alaric, leader of the Shadowmen, killed many of the Keepers - the teachers and bearers of ancient knowledge threatening his barbaric rule.

Germ Wars

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
We've been at war for years against millions of enemies - germs! A hilarious journey through what germs do to us and how we learned to fight back.

Mad Scientists

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
From the man who ate everything, to the cat that's both alive and dead...A hilarious but informative look at some of science's strangest ideas - and thinkers!

Reading Round Edinburgh

From its secret underground streets to the top of Arthur's Seat, the city of Edinburgh has been the inspiration for many children's books and writers.

Crazy Creatures

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
Illustrated by: Shona Grant
Each book in this series focuses on forgotten heroes, exciting adventures and fascinating facts - guaranteed to appeal to reluctant readers, especially boys.