Iain Lawrence was born in 1955 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. During his childhood he accompanied his father on his journeys through Canada. He later studied journalism in Vancouver and subsequently wrote for various Canadian newspapers.
He also wrote a number of children’s books, which initially remained unpublished. After a literary agent encouraged him to write, he revised one of his early books, which finally appeared in 1998 under the title »The Wrecker« (2001) as the first volume of the »High Seas Trilogy«. It tells the story of 14-year-old John Spencer, who survives a shipwreck on the coast of Cornwall, where residents lure ships into storms in order to plunder the wrecks. In »The Smugglers« (1999) John is commissioned to transport wool to London with a schooner that was formerly a smuggler ship and has many a surprise in store for him. In »The Buccaneers« (2001) John finally goes on a long voyage to Jamaica. But none of the crew knows the waters, and eventually they meet a pirate ship and are stranded on an island where a treasure is supposedly buried. The story of the young adult book »Lord of the Nutcracker Men« (2001) is set in England during World War I and shows children the senselessness of war. The protagonist is Johnny, whose father, a toy maker, sends letters home from the French front – always with a new toy soldier for Johnny. The award-winning young adult book »The Lightkeeperʼs Daughter« (2002) is about a girl named Squid who grows up on an island with only her parents and her brother and no outside contacts. With puberty, childhood happiness turns into a catastrophe – a young man appears and seduces the 13-year-old, who becomes pregnant. Squid’s brother, who desperately fights against his father’s expectations, drowns. Three years later, Squid and her little child come back to the island to say goodbye and free themselves from their memories.
For his books, which are bestsellers in North America, Lawrence has received a number of awards including the 2007 Governor General’s Award. The translation of »The Giant-Slayer« (2009) about children at a polio ward in the US in the mid-1950s who are encouraged by the stories of a compassionate girl, was nominated for the German Youth Literature Award in 2018. The author lives on Gabriola Island.