About Kamilla Milligan

Professional Bio

Kamilla (she/her) believes that books are medicine, supporting us when we’re struggling, and helping us live better and happier than all the time.

One of Kamilla’s stories was shortlisted in the 2022 CANSCAIP Writing for Children Competition and another was longlisted in Writing Magazine’s 2023 Picture Book Prize. She was a finalist in PBParty 2023 and an Honorable Mention in #50PreciousWords 2023. Two of her picture books were selected for #CanLitPit’s 2022 agent showcase, and she received an Honourable Mention in the PB Rising Stars 2022 mentorship program.

She has a background in education, geography, human rights, and reading too much. After a childhood in British Columbia, Canada, she spent several years working, volunteering and studying in Russia, as well as five years learning and teaching in Virginia and Mississippi. She writes books for children that are grounded in respectful relationships and love of nature. Her outlook on the world has been shaped by early years on Haida Gwai, growing up brownish in a predominantly white area, and immersion in the belief that diversity is part of humanity’s essential oneness. She has a BA from UBC (geography), MA from the University of Guelph (geography) and PhD from Old Dominion University (Urban Services/ Education). She currently lives on the unceded territory of the Ts’uubaa-asatx Nation.

Visiting one of my favourite beaches on Pacheedaht lands.

Territory Acknowledgment

I would like to acknowledge the traditional territories I have lived and learned on throughout my life: of the Haida peoples and the Syilx Okanagan Nation; the Mississaugas of the Credit, Anishinnabe, Hodinöhsö:ni’ and Wendat peoples on the Dish with One Spoon territory; the Chesapeake peoples; the Choctaw and Natchez peoples; the Buryat peoples; the Nanais, Taz and Udge peoples; and the Ts’uubaa-asatx Nation. I am grateful for my time on these beautiful lands and for the welcome that I, as an uninvited settler and guest, received.

Papery red poppies with white borders.

More about me

Reading is more than a love. It’s a lifestyle. Once I discovered stories as a toddler, I would tackle my father at the end of the day with a pile of books. That poor man read to me for as long as he could, until he collapsed from exhaustion. The exhaustion may have been from his full days of work as a builder, but I can’t say for sure.

Though I wasn’t an early reader, once I caught the bug, it stuck. I would read, and read, and re-read, all day, into the night (flashlights are excellent), in any conceivable crack of time. Soon, a meal was torture if I couldn’t prop a book in front of me. In elementary school, I convinced my teachers to let me read between items on spelling tests because I couldn’t handle the pain of waiting an extra 10-15 seconds between words.

Reading absorbed me completely. I remember, in Grade 3, deep into a hardcover library edition of Pat of Silver Bush, becoming aware that the teacher was calling my name. I re-entered my body to see all the other students sitting on the carpet, waiting for circle time to start. I hadn’t heard a thing.

When I was in my early teens, I perfected reading and walking, escaping into a book on my way to and from school. I also had a brief foray into reading and biking. While no disasters ensued, I didn’t persist with this extreme sport. The compulsion to consume books while in motion continues to the present where, at stoplights, I … RESIST opening the book on the seat beside me to read the next sentence.

My three biggest fears in life are being cold; choking; and finding myself without reading material.

Now, as a full-grown adult, I read as much as ever. I read for pleasure, for escape, to learn and to experience. Books soothe me, challenge me, and bring me deep joy.

Writing, on the other hand, is both a way of making sense of myself and the world, and also the ultimate creative endeavour. I love editorial iterations that lead to clarity, moments of inspiration when two ideas merge into one, and the thrill of finding the perfect connection between one scene and the next. Once I’ve created something (and leaving aside fears about how it will be received), I want to share what I’ve created with others.

I started writing for children after my daughter was born. Immersed in books with her, I finally had the courage to try writing something for other readers. My family and our home continue to inspire my writing, and their support is a huge part of how and why I write.

In addition to reading and writing, I enjoy walking, hiking, gardening, and learning about herbs and plants. I’m an enthusiastic beginner in a range of handwork techniques—needle felting, knitting, weaving. I’m grateful for creativity in all its forms, including in parenting and partnership.

Thank you for being here.