About Kamilla Milligan

I’m excited to share my first author interview with Little Thoughts Press!

Kamilla in Brief

I write books for children that are grounded in respectful relationships, love of nature, and joy.

My writing is shaped by early years on Haida Gwai, growing up brownish in a predominantly white area, and the belief that diversity is part of humanity’s essential oneness.

I have a background in education (PhD), geography (BA & MA), human rights, and reading too much. After a childhood in British Columbia, Canada, I spent several years working, volunteering and studying in Russia, as well as five years learning and teaching in Virginia and Mississippi.

I currently live on the unceded territory of the Ts’uubaa-asatx Nation.

About my work

As I continue to work on my writing craft, some of the recognition I’ve received includes:

  • Highlights Foundation TBTG Scholarship 2024
  • Winner in #50PreciousWords 2024 (ART FROM DARKNESS: A TRIBUTE TO L.M. MONTGOMERY)
  • Short story in Little Thoughts Press’s fall 2023 issue (THE SILENT DANCER)
  • Round Table Mentor 2024 match with Ellen Armendáriz Stumbo for my contemporary middle grade novel (BROWNISH GIRL ON STAGE)
  • Shortlisted in the 2022 CANSCAIP Writing for Children Competition (ONE-NIGHT BIKE)
  • Shortlisted in the 2023 CANSCAIP Writing for Children Competition (ONE-NIGHT BIKE and TOGETHER TEA)
  • Longlisted in Writing Magazine’s 2023 Picture Book Prize (WE GROW TOO)
  • Honorable Mention in #50PreciousWords 2023 (CLICK LESSONS)
  • PBParty 2023: Finalist
  • PBParty 2024: Honourable Mention
  • PB Rising Stars mentorship program 2023: Runner-Up
  • PB Rising Stars mentorship program 2022: Honorable Mention
  • #CanLitPit’s 2022 agent showcase: two picture books

Territory Acknowledgment

I would like to acknowledge the traditional territories I have lived and learned on throughout my life. These are the homelands and traditional territories of:

the Haida peoples; 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; the Songhees and Esquimalt People; 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.

The REAL story about Kamilla

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 for others. 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.