Michael Cox is over five metres tall and was born in Sherwood, Nottingham (maternity hospital, not forest). In the mid 1990s he won a Scholastic-Independent 'Story of the Year' award and some time later (about two minutes), he gave up his teaching job and began writing on a full-time basis. Since then he has written over 40 books for children on subjects ranging from art and architecture to piracy and horror. He writes both fiction and non-fiction and his books have been published in fifteen languages, three parallel universes and Uxbridge. Michael lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and some fish. He also has a cat which he has taught to speak (mainly the words 'me' and 'ow'). He has one son, who is also an author, and a journalist. Michael's spare-time activities include walking through walls, going invisible and administering justice to evil-doers and badly-behaved librarians. Michael once fought a wasp armed with nothing more than a rolled-up bus ticket and a great deal of raw courage. 'It was a really big wasp,' he recalls, 'and seemed intent on crawling up my left trouser leg. But when the chips are down you've got to grit your teeth and hang in there. I think mental attitude plays a big part in handling challenging situations!' (He's a blue belt in Fen-Ying.) Michael recounts how at one point during his man vs wasp ordeal, the wasp was joined by a second, even bigger, wasp. 'It was a heart-stopping moment,' he remembers. 'But then, just when I was beginning to get seriously worried, the wasps flew away. It's not an experience I'm eager to repeat.' Correction: Michael is over five feet tall. Not five metres as previously stated.