Erica Wagner is an artist, publisher and creative consultant to storytellers. Her collages are inspired by the natural world and are made by layering and repurposing discarded paintings and sketches. While Erica has worked as an editor and award-winning publisher of children’s books for many years, Hope is the Thing is the first picture book she has illustrated.
Erica exhibits regularly in solo and group shows and was the 2017 winner of the inaugural VAS George Hicks Foundation Contemporary Art Prize. For over three decades, Erica has edited and published many ground-breaking and award-winning books for children and young adults, starting out with Penguin Books Australia in 1988, establishing Sliverfish, a children’s list for Duffy & Snellgrove, in 1999, and working at Allen & Unwin from 2000–2020. In 2015 she founded the graphic novel publisher Twelve Panels Press with Bernard Caleo and Elizabeth MacFarlane. The first children’s book editor to receive the Beatrice Davis Editorial Fellowship in 1999, Erica was awarded the Dromkeen Medal in 2017, the Australian Book Industry’s Pixie O’Harris Award in 2021 and the Australian Publishers Association’s George Robertson Award in 2022. Passionate about illustrated storytelling in particular, Erica and Johanna Bell co-facilitated the inaugural Octopus Story Camp for Top End writers and artists in 2019. Her first picture book, Hope is the Thing written by Johanna Bell, was published in February 2023.