Author details

Gill Arbuthnott


I was born and brought up in Edinburgh, attending James Gillespie’s High School when it was still all-girls and staffed by a fabulous collection of eccentric blue-stocking spinsters. I couldn’t have had a more inspiring education.  I went on to study Zoology at St Andrew’s University, then to do research at Southampton University, but I wasn’t very good at it.  I came back to Edinburgh (with a sigh of relief) and started teaching Biology. I never intended to stay in teaching, but I found to my great surprise that I really enjoyed it. My first book was published in 2003 and for several years I combined writing and teaching, but I have recently given up teaching to concentrate on my writing career.  I’d dreamed of being a writer since I was at primary school, and I’m still amazed it’s happened. Not many people are lucky enough to have their dreams actually come true!

About writer's work

I write both fiction and non fiction for children. My non fiction books are popular science, because I passionately believe that science is fascinating, and many people are put off it if they only read school text books. Science should be thrilling!  My fiction is fantasy, but you won’t find any elves or magic swords or people who turn out to be lost princes in it. I like my fantasy with real, ordinary people in it. Some of my books are for 9-12 age group and others for teens. I have also written two picture books.

Websites featuring the author

Author's websiteFloris Books: ChaosBloomsburyFraser Ross

Current events and projects

I’m happy to do readings, author talks about my books, and talks about the writing process generally. I also offer a range of interactive presentations based on my science books, which are generally suitable for P5 to S2.


Local authority where they are based


Local authorities where they can work

Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Moray, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, Other1, Outer Hebrides, Perth and Kinross, Renfrewshire, Scottish Borders, Shetland, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, Stirling, West Dunbartonshire, West Lothian, Other

Age groups

0-4, 5-8, 9-12, Teens, Adults

LL funded


BRAW network


Author type




Books written

A Beginner's Guide to Electricity and Magnetism

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
From static electricity to babysitting robots, discover everything you never knew about electricity and magnetism.
Book Cover

A Beginner's Guide to Life on Earth

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
What exactly is life? What is a living thing? Discover life in all its scaly, slimy, prickly squishy glory!

A Beginner's Guide to the Periodic Table

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
A Beginners Guide to the Periodic Table is a mind-blowing guide to the elements that make up the periodic table, fully explaining their starring role in the world and clears away any confusion or appr


Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
Illustrated by: Keith Brumpton
'She plunged beneath the surface, her eyes blind in the murky, green water: dived again and again until she couldn't take another breath. There was no trace.

What Makes You You?

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
What Makes You You? is a mind-blowing introduction to the building blocks of life, DNA, what it is, how it works, and what we can do with it.

Dark Spell

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
15-year-old Callie Hall has just found out she's a witch, and things keep going wrong. Sometimes her mind seems to make things happen, things she can't control.

Lost at the Zoo

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
Rory the pet mouse goes on a trip to Edinburgh Zoo in Sam's pocket. He leans out to get a better look and falls into the anteater's enclosure.

The Keepers' Daughter

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
Ten years ago, Alaric, leader of the Shadowmen, killed many of the Keepers - the teachers and bearers of ancient knowledge threatening his barbaric rule.

Germ Wars

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
We've been at war for years against millions of enemies - germs! A hilarious journey through what germs do to us and how we learned to fight back.

Mad Scientists

Author(s): Gill Arbuthnott
From the man who ate everything, to the cat that's both alive and dead...A hilarious but informative look at some of science's strangest ideas - and thinkers!