About Jessica Walton

Jessica Walton is a picture book author, and Introducing Teddy is her first book. Jess is also a cancer survivor, amputee, queer, daughter of a trans parent, feminist and teacher. As well as picture books, Jess writes about disability, LGBTI issues, and the intersections between her disabled and queer experiences. She is a sensitivity reader for manuscripts featuring amputee and queer characters, and reviews published books with amputee characters.

Jess lost her leg to cancer aged 9, and has worn a prosthetic leg ever since. Sick of legs that tried to mimic real skin, she started wearing patterned prosthetic legs. She hopes to design a snow globe-style prosthetic leg one day, with glittery snow swirling every time she takes a step.

Jess came out as bisexual just as she was finishing high school. She met her wife at university. They married in Melbourne surrounded by family and friends in 2011. As Australia doesn’t allow same sex couples to legally marry, they followed this up with a small wedding ceremony with family in Banff, Canada.

Photo by Candybox Photography

Jess completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Deakin University (Arabic/Children’s Literature) and a Graduate Diploma of Secondary Education (English/Humanities) at La Trobe University. She worked as a teacher, and is passionate about education. Jess hopes one day to develop educational resources aimed at improving the lives of LGBTI and disabled students.

Jessica is also a vocalist, ukulele player, and songwriter. In 2012, Jess made it to the finals of the Darebin Songwriters Competition with her song ‘Your Own Real Face’, written for her dad Tina, who had just come out as transgender: https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/jessie-mae-walton

Photo by Fergus Randall

Jess’ dad Tina is a disability support worker, and co-founder and community outreach worker with Gender Diversity Australasia, Australia’s largest transgender peer support group. She is a contributing author to Bold: Stories from older lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, published by Rag and Bone Press in 2015: http://www.ragandboneman.org/store/p4/BOLD.html

In 2014, Jess and her wife had their first child. Tina became a wonderful, loving grandma. This is when Jess started looking for picture books featuring transgender characters, and decided to write Introducing Teddy.

Jess is available to speak at schools and events about Introducing Teddy, and about disability, sexuality and gender issues. Please contact Jess for more information.

Media can contact Bloomsbury Publishing to arrange interviews with Jess.