Thompson, Kate

About the author

Kate Thompson is a prize winning children’s author, who won the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year in 2005 and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2005 for The New Policeman. She has written two books with horsy backgrounds. Annan Water is a very good, though bleak, read. It is not, however, so bleak that you regret you ever read it: I want to read it again to appreciate the shifts and changes in Michael’s life.

Kate Thompson was born in Halifax, Yorkshire in 1956, and spent her childhood in Leamington Spa and Worcester. The fascination of having two parents active in the peace and anti-nuclear movements wasn’t enough to outweigh the attraction of the local stables, and she spent much of her time there. When she left school, she worked with racehorses in the UK and America, but eventually found that she wanted the interaction with people the horses had vanquished, and started to take a law degree. This wasn’t for her, and she went travelling before moving to Ireland with her partner. She joined the North Clare Writers’ Circle, and in 1992 published her first book, a collection of poems. Since then she has written several novels for children and adults.

Finding the books
Easy to find.

Kate Thompson’s website, which no longer appears to be available (Nov 2017)


Annan Water

Bodley Head, London, 2004, 181 pp.
Reprinted 2005, paperback.

Michael is the son of horse dealer parents: added to the pressures of constantly preparing horses for sale is the rarely mentioned death of his sister, to say nothing of his schoolwork. The girl Annie seems to be the only glimmer of light on the horizon.

Highway Robbery

The Bodley Head, London, 2008, illus Jonny Duddle
Greenwillow, New York, 2008, 118 pp.  Cover art by Tristan Elwell, illus Jonny Duddle and Robert Dress

Aimed at younger readers than Annan Water: “a dark stranger leaves his magnificent horse in the care of a boy he’s never met. As dark falls, others offer to pay the boy handsomely for the animal. Then soldiers arrive, demanding to know where the horse’s owner has gone. Could the stranger be the notorious Dick Turpin, known forhis daring holdups and amazing exploits? Is the horse the legendary Black Bess? And will the boy ever see the reward he’s been promised?”