In Emily Whitman’s novels for kids and teens, myth and magic are part of everyday life. The Turning, a middle-grade novel based on Celtic folklore, won the 2019 Oregon Book Award for children's literature. Her YA novels are Radiant Darkness, number one on the IndieBound Kid’s Next List, and Wildwing, winner of an Oregon Book Award and a Bankstreet College Best Children’s Book.  Emily grew up in Colorado and studied history at Harvard and UC Berkeley. She's worked in bookstores and behind library reference desks. Emily loves researching her books, whether by mining library treasures or learning to fly falcons. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon. Come visit her at





This is Ireland's Skellig Michael. In The Turning, when you read about the Moon Day rites, you'll know where I got my inspiration for the Spire! Research can take you to some amazing places.

As we climbed all those steps to the top, puffins flew up the cliffs and strutted around near our feet. Being so close to these glorious birds led me to create one of my favorite characters in the book. 

My husband and I sail on Portland's rivers, where ospreys fight off eagles and salmon leap from sea lions. I'm still a sailor in training, but I can manage a tiller and a jib.

Here's a picture of me doing exhausting, strenuous research for Wildwing. What's that, you think the peregrine falcon did all the work?

Some things about me...

Photo: Randy Carnahan

Meet Elsie, my partner in writing and crime. She helps me by sleeping on my desk as I write, and insisting I get up to play now and again. 


Elsie found my son at a snow-covered cabin in the middle of nowhere. She was so small, we named her after the girl in Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep. In the book, Elsie can "skip as ever so." She even does the skip against trouble. 


As a kitten, our Elsie could chase and retrieve paper balls as ever so. Now she's above retrieving. We're supposed to bring the toys to her.

This is the first book I remember being mine, the collected works of Edward Lear. Here I am with the book open to the picture of Foss the Cat. I still have the book. As you can see, the paper looks a little faded.

© 2015 by Emily Whitman.