I have written three adult novels, nine young adult novels and three middle-grade novels, four short story collections and a whole lot of picture books. My collection of short stories Some of the Kinder Planets won the Governor General's Award as well as the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. The Maestro won a second Governor General's Award and was short-listed for the Guardian Prize in the UK. The Boy in the Burning House won the Edgar Award and the Arthur Ellis Award and was short-listed for the Guardian Prize, as well. Blink & Caution won another “Arthur,” as well as my second Horn Book Award. The Emperor of Any Place received seven starred book reviews and was short-listed for the Governor General’s Award. The Starlight Claim won the John Spray Award of the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. My work has been published in Japanese, Korean, Danish, Dutch, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Catalan and Hebrew.
I started out writing songs for various bands in which I was the lead singer. I’ve written the book and libretto for an opera and a musical, and a number of songs for the Jim Henson/CBC TV show Fraggle Rock. Among the highlights of my career was participating in the largest reading ever, according to The Guinness Book of Records. Kenneth Oppel and I were the warm-up acts for J.K. Rowling at the Toronto Sky Dome in 2000, with an audience of over 20,000.
I was named to the long list for the 2012 Hans Christian Andersen Award, of the International Board on Books for Young People. On September 28th, of that same year, I was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
I moved to Canada from England when I was not quite four-years-old. I have three grown-up children, and five grandchildren. My wife, the writer Amanda West Lewis, and I live near Perth, Ontario on 76 acres of rough and tumble land, one small corner of which we have somewhat tamed.