Ailsa Ross writes about people, place, and art for Outside, the Guardian, the BBC, Longreads, National Geographic Traveler, JSTOR Daily, ARTnews, Orion, the Writers’ Union of Canada and many others—and her work’s been syndicated by Cambridge University Press.

Since the summer solstice—as part of the book project Hovel—Ailsa has been doing one small new thing a week. Trying to love mosquitoes was so good. Really the best. It introduced her to this art installation she thinks about a lot.

She’s the author of the illustrated children’s book The Woman Who Rode a Shark: And 50 More Wild Female Adventurers (UK).

A Kirkus star-reviewed, USBBY Outstanding International Book 2020 and CBC best kids’ book for fall 2019, around the rest of the world it’s available as The Girl Who Rode a Shark: and Other Stories of Daring Women.

In the autumn of 2019, with the Writers’ Trust of Canada, she was the writer-in-residence at Berton House in the Yukon. Then in 2022, she was an artist-in-residence in Jasper National Park.

Longlisted for the DISQUIET Literary Prize in 2020, in 2018 she was a Banff Centre resident of the Mountain and Wilderness Writing program under the Carlyle Norman Scholarship. Her research and creative writing has also been supported by the British Council, Orion Environmental Writers Workshop in Arizona, NES Artist Residency in Iceland, Outlandia in Scotland, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Canada Council for the Arts.

A graduate of the University of Edinburgh’s law school, Ailsa does freelance fact-checking for various clients, including Harper’s Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar, and she’s worked in communications for environmental nonprofits like the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative—which is how she developed an obsession with writing about animals.

While Ailsa lives on Treaty 8 land in Canada’s Jasper National Park, when she closes her eyes she often sees puffins—a common affliction among people who’ve grown up on Scotland’s northeast coast.

Tracks leading to a beaver lodge! (The little pyramid on the left, not the big one on the right.)

Ailsa is represented by Jackie Kaiser at Westwood Creative Artists. Her bio pic at the top of the page makes her seem more serious than she is.

She’s available for freelance work if the project fits.

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