Kate Saunders

Writer - fiction

Add to shortlist



Kate Saunders began her career as a professional actor but moved into journalism following the publication of her first novel in 1986. She has written two literary novels, THE PRODIGAL FATHER and STORM IN THE CITADEL, and has edited an anthology (REVENGE) for Virago. She is also co-author, with Peter Stanford, of the controversial CATHOLICS AND SEX, published by Heinemann. Her other novels include NIGHT SHALL OVERTAKE US, WILD YOUNG BOHEMIANS, LILY JOSEPHINE, THE MARRYING GAME and BACHELOR BOYS. In 1999 Kate started a parallel career as a children’s writer with THE BELFRY WITCHES SERIES (Macmillan). Three books in the LAETITIA RODD  series were published by Bloomsbury.

FIVE CHILDREN ON THE WESTERN FRONT, was published September 2014 by Faber and received wonderful reviews. It also won the Costa Children's Book Award 2014 and has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Award 2016. 

Kate sadly passed away in 2023.


Faber and Faber published Kate's last novel, A DROP OF GOLDEN SUN, in March 2024:


"How refreshing to find a children's book that radiates such warmth and wisdom. How rare to find one that explores reality without losing its gentleness. And how welcome to enjoy a story that allows good things to happen... I cried happy tears more than once. A generous and life-affirming novel that is tender and glorious to the end."

Lucy Bannerman, The Times  


"Soaked in sunshine and the warmth of friendship, this is a joyous and gentle book, perfectly pitched for young readers who dream of finding where they belong."

Nicolette Jone, The Sunday Times 


'This took me back to childhood. I love and admire many books, but few truly transport me to that place of gleeful delight. A Drop of Golden Sun is radiant storytelling, nuanced and exuberant. Sublime.' KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE


'Kate Saunders' writing is pure joy. It sparkles with imagination, magic, and immense talent.' JASBINDER BILAN


'Just wonderful... Warm and funny and loving, I adored it.' ROSS MONTGOMERY


'I read it in one gulp. Delightful, heartwarming, inspiring and funny.' FRANCESCA SIMON


'I loved this book! I fell in love with Jenny and the story, big and warm-hearted, about friendship and complicated families, all wrapped up in the razzle dazzle of showbiz. A treat to read.' JUDITH EAGLE


'Beautiful storytelling, classy, classic and poignant' HANNAH GOLD


'Funny, glorious and brilliant.' A. M. HOWELL


'Noel Streatfield's Ballet Shoes meets Rumer Godden's Greengage Summer, with a healthy dose of The Sound of Music. Life affirming and glorious.' NICOLA PENFOLD



Publication DetailsNotes



Faber & Faber

When a miniature reindeer named Percy falls down the chimney of the Trubshaws' holiday cottage, the last thing they expect is to be whisked away to the distant planet of Yule-1 - the REAL home of Father Christmas, the elves, and his intrepid reindeer delivery teams. And what an amazing place it is - nobody minds being stuck there until the computer system has been mended.
But the festive season is in danger! One rogue reindeer has teamed up with the evil Krampus to sabotage everything. Unless Percy and his new friends can track them down, there will be no Christmas this year - or EVER AGAIN!




Have you ever wondered what happened to the Five Children and It characters when the First World War began?

Cyril is off to fight, Anthea is at art college, Robert is a Cambridge scholar and Jane is at high school. The Lamb is the grown up age of 11, and he has a little sister, Edith, in tow. The sand fairy has become a creature of stories ... until he suddenly reappears. The siblings are pleased to have something to take their minds off the war, but this time the Psammead is here for a reason, and his magic might have a more serious purpose.

Before this last adventure ends, all will be changed, and the two younger children will have seen the Great War from every possible viewpoint - factory-workers, soldiers and sailors, nurses and the people left at home, and the war's impact will be felt right at the heart of their family.



World All Languages: Scholastic

Welcome to the most magical house in London

Oz and Lily’s family have inherited it, together with the mysterious shop downstairs. Long-ago, its famous chocolate-makers were clever sorcerers. Now evil villains are hunting the secret of their greatest recipe. The terrifying power of this magic chocolate could destroy the world.

The children are swept into a thrilling battle, helped by an invisible cat, a talking rat and the ghost of an elephant.

A fantastic new adventure from the author of BESWITCHED and MAGICALAMITY.



World rights: Scholastic

Tom is in shock. He's just discovered that his dad has sprouted wings. He is an escaped fairy on the run. Tom must entrust his life to three fairy godmothers he's never met, two of whom are hardened criminals, and one of whom falls out of the window when she tries to fly.
With their dangerously unpredictable magical help, how will Tom ever rescue his dad from the clutches of some killer fairies?



World: Scholastic UK

Flora Fox is very unhappy about being sent off to boarding school while her parents are in Italy caring for her ailing grandmother. On the train to Prentice Hall, a weird nightmare makes things much worse. She wakes up to find herself in 1935; trendy, liberated Prentice Hall has turned into St Winifred’s, an extremely old-fashioned girls' school run by the formidable Miss Harbottle, and founded by the magically gifted Miss Beak. Flora’s sudden journey back through time has a secret purpose, somehow linked to her ancient grandmother and ‘the gift’ which Miss Harbottle says she must pursue if she is ever to reclaim her past and future life.
BESWITCHED is a glorious period school story, spiced with time-travel adventure, rich comedy and the supernatural.



World rights: Macmillan UK

The new girl at school, Staffa, is very small and very thin with paper-white skin and ink-black plaits. She has funny old-fashioned clothes and an odd way of speaking that makes everybody laugh at her. But none of that bothers Jane, who thinks Staffa is different and daring and a great best friend.
But Staffa and her mother, the terrifying Lady Matilda, have a secret – something so strange and incredible that Jane’s life may be in danger if she discovers it.

Kate Saunders takes readers into a wildly imaginative world of death-defying bee-riders and giant racing spiders. A world where wicked plots are hatched, exciting rescues staged and where the power of friendship can be a match for even the most dastardly of villains.



UK: Macmillan Children's Books; US: Macmillan Children's Books

A six-book series, and the first children’s stories by bestselling novelist Kate Saunders, THE BELFRY WITCHES follows the fortunes of Old Noshie and Skirty Marm, two of the inhabitants of Witch Island. They try to be good, but are influenced by strange powers - and together, they always spell trouble! A major BBC TV series has been adapted from these books.



UK:Macmillan Children's Books; US:Macmillan Children's Books

At first glance there’s nothing special about the little white stone which Cat’s archaeologist father gives her. All his stories about Ancient Egypt and Professor Katzenberg’s crazy cat god sound just plain daft.
But then Cat makes a catastrophic discovery. The stone does have amazing powers. Power to take her away from bullying Emily Baines. Power to transform her into a CAT!

Now Cat is catapulted into the world of furry felines. But the cat kingdom is in turmoil.

For readers aged nine and older.




It’s 1973 and 12-year-old Jenny is in shock. She’s just been cast as one of the lead roles in a feature film. She’s going to be a child actor! Soon she must jet off to France, to the idyllic Château Mouchotte, where she will join her film family: three other children and two renowned actors.

The glitz and glamour of being on set is a million miles away from Jenny’s normal life, but showbiz is never straightforward and there’s one fierce and famous actor that threatens the whole shoot. It’s up to Jenny and her friends to keep the peace and save the film. Jenny is about to experience a life-changing summer in the spotlight!


Publication DetailsNotes




Mrs Laetitia Rodd is the impoverished widow of an Archdeacon, living modestly in Hampstead with her landlady Mrs Bentley. She is also a private detective of the utmost discretion. In winter 1850, her brother Frederick, a criminal barrister, introduces her to Sir James Calderstone, a wealthy and powerful industrialist who asks Mrs Rodd to investigate the background of an 'unsuitable' woman his son intends to marry – a match he is determined to prevent.

In the guise of governess, she travels to the family seat, Wishtide, deep in the frozen Lincolnshire countryside, where she soon discovers that the Calderstones have more to hide than most. As their secrets unfold, the case takes an unpleasant turn when a man is found dead outside a tavern. Mrs Rodd's keen eyes and astute wits are taxed as never before in her search for the truth – which carries her from elite drawing rooms to London's notorious inns and its steaming laundry houses.



Estonian: Varrak; German: Krueger & Scherz

Clare Chessil was looking forward to her romantic getaway: a whole glorious week in a luxurious French chateau with the man she loves. She hadn’t counted on his bringing his wife and kids.
And neither of them had counted on their deluxe French hotel turning out to be a shabby ruin of a castle, run by a dotty pair of warring alcoholics. As the chateau’s beleaguered guests find themselves living cheek by jowl and wishing they were anywhere but here, marital strife breaks out into full-blown warfare, leaving husbands, wives and lovers to question the value of what they have settled for in life and love. Welcome to Crooked Castle: there may be rats in the pool, hallucinogens in the local tipple, and naked priests in the wardrobe, but we hope you have a pleasant stay.

CROOKED CASTLE is a witty holiday caper brimming with wine, passion and misunderstandings. It might be the secret lovechild of TWELFTH NIGHT and Peter Mayle, with just a dash of CARRY ON UP THE DORDOGNE!



UK: Century; US: St Martins; Dutch: Luitingh; Estonian: Varrak; German: Krueger; Russian: Mir Knigi

For the four Hasty girls the death of The Man - their adored father - leaves them with a crumbling stately home - Melsimate - no money and an emotional hole in their lives that no ordinary man can fill. Irresistibly gorgeous in their different ways, Nancy, Rufa, Lydia and Selena are simply hopeless about love. But in order to save Melsimate, marrying rich husbands is the name of the game. Kate Saunders’ deliciously funny, sexy and wildly romantic new novel is as exhilarating as champagne laced with coke.



UK: Century; Chinese (complex): Ten Points; Dutch: Luitingh-Sijthoff; French: Plon; German: Krueger; Indonesian: P T Gramedia; T

Cassie is nothing if not organised. A successful journalist, she’s ticked almost all the boxes: attentive boyfriend, own flat, good job, great friends. It’s all fallen into place. In theory, at least.
There’s one part of Cassie’s life, however, which is anything but organised, and that’s her love for the Darling family. As the only child of ambitious parents, Cassie spent her childhood abandoned to the somewhat peremptory care of a series of nannies. One day, peeping over the garden wall, she met her next-door neighbours, Fritz and Ben, the boys who became her inseparable childhood friends. But now Phoebe, the boys' mother, has fallen ill. She summons Cassie to ask of her the only favour she’s ever requested. Cassie knows she can’t say no. But what Phoebe asks is an impossibility: concerned about what will happen to Fritz and Ben after her death, she wants to see them safely married off. Yet entertaining as they were as children, they’re terrible as adults. They’re charming, sexy and completely irresistible, but they’re also unemployable, messy and generally useless. Surely no intelligent woman could be persuaded, once they see past the enticing veneer, to take on one of them for life? But Cassie is determined to grant Phoebe’s last wish.

BACHELOR BOYS is an irresistible follow-up to Kate Saunders' previous novel THE MARRYING GAME.