Alison Lester was born on the 17/11/1952 at Foster in Victoria, Australia. She grew up on a farm overlooking the sea and first rode a horse as a baby in her father’s arms. She still lives in the country and rides her horse Woollyfoot, whenever she can. Her picture books mix imaginary worlds with everyday life, encouraging children to believe in themselves and celebrate the differences that make them special.
Alison spends part of every year traveling to schools in remote areas, using her books to help children and adults write and draw about their own lives. Alison began illustrating children’s books in her late twenties. After training as a secondary art teacher she found that although she loved teaching art, she didn't like the everyday routine of school.
When her first baby, Will was born, Alison knew that she wanted to work from home, so she looked up publishers in the Yellow Pages, found Oxford University Press, rang up and asked for a job. She was lucky to be interviewed by three lovely women who could see the potential in her scrappy folio and gave her a book to illustrate. After five years of illustrating other people’s stories she found herself getting picky with their texts and had a go at writing her own. Clive Eats Alligators was the result, and she has been writing and illustrating her own stories since then.
In 1997 Alison's first children’s novel, The Quicksand Pony was published and The Snow Pony followed in 1999. "I hope I can continue to write both “chapter books” and picture books,” she said at the time “My heart is always with the little kids, but as my own children get older I find myself more and more interested in novels".
1979, began illustrating children’s books.
1985, wrote first book, Clive Eats Alligators.
'1985 – 2004, writing and illustrating.
Exhibitions at Books Illustrated, Fremantle Children's Literature Centre, Des Bunyon Gallery, Dromkeen, Season’s Gallery, McClelland Gallery.
1993, guest speaker at IBBY conference, Manila.
1996, Writers Project Grant from the Australia Council to research the Spanish Riding school in Vienna for Running With The Horses.
1999, writer in residence at Tanglin Trust School, Singapore.
2001, guest speaker at Story Lines Festival, Auckland.
2002, visiting author at the Bologna Book Fair, Italy, sponsored by the Australia Council.
2004, guest speaker, Simmons College, Boston, USA.
2004, visiting author to Seoul, Korea for Children’s Book Week.
2004, visiting author, schools in Tokyo.
2005, traveled to Antarctica as an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow for the Kids Antarctic Art project.
2005, workshops and exhibition of Are We There Yet in Japan as part of the Asialink literature touring program with the Aichi expo.
2005, photographer on tourist ship to Ross Sea region of Antarctica.
2006, Are We There Yet? illustrations exhibited in Taipei.
2006, first painting for the Kid’s Antarctic Art project exhibited at the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
2007, visual artist on two voyages to Peninsula region of Antarctica.
2007, Kid’s Antarctic Art exhibition opens at Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.
2007, photographer and writer on voyage around Spitsbergen in the Arctic.
2008, Kids Antarctic Art exhibited at Melbourne Style, South Melbourne, featuring selected works as larger canvasses.
2009, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia: Presenter at Writers Festival.
2009, India, Authors Tour.
2009, Tokyo/ Japan, Artist in Resident and working in International schools.
2010, Bologna/ Italy, Visiting Author at Bologna Book Fair.
2010, Melbourne, Exhibition of Running With The Horses Australian Academy of Design.
2011, travelling exhibition of Are We There Yet?
2011, Kiev, Ukraine, artist in residence, International School.
2011, China, author tour, Swimming With Stories exhibition.
2012, Antarctica, from Hobart on tourist ship working as expedition artist.
2012, National Year of Reading' Ambassador. Are We There Yet? the book chosen to represent.
2012, National Year of Reading Tour of Regional Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
2012 - 2013, chosen as first Australian Children's Laureate with Boori Monty Pryor.