Mairi Hedderwick was born in Gourock, Scotland. At seventeen she took a job as a mother's help on the Isle of Coll in the Hebrides, beginning a life-long love affair with islands and their small communities. Her children were brought up there and now some of her grandchildren. Mairi's island world is delightfully reflected in the imaginary island of Struay where her perennially popular Katie Morag stories are set. As well as creating children's books Mairi writes and illustrates travel books for adults, including Highland Journey and Sea Change (Birlinn 2009). She also illustrated the acclaimed Janet Reachfar books, which are published by Birlinn. She continues to live on Coll.