Born in Sialkot, Punjab, India (now part of Pakistan), he moved to Canada as an adult and now lives in Cornwall, Ontario.
His other juvenile titles are "Simon & the Snow King" (1981) and "The Blessings of a Bird" (1983).
(Gill talks about those last two titles, in part)
".....My mother was a school teacher and a good storyteller. She was very particular about our education and, therefore, gave special attention to our regular attendance at school and tried her utmost to keep us away from the influence of the children who were disinterested in their studies. My father, a good bread-earner, edited a religious magazine for a while and was unusually interested in writing letters.
"Yet, I hated school and played truant whenever I could. I hated my curriculum and classroom, but that does not mean that I hated books. Rather, I loved to read anything, except the text books. I loved to read, especially fiction and poetry. Our home was full of books, and my father was a zealous subscriber to several dailies and monthlies. In that environment, I became a voracious reader from my early childhood. When nothing was available, I would borrow or buy materials to satisfy my thirst. This habit remained a part of me for whole life. l read the Bible several times.
"In the later part of my teens, I began to move among writers and would-be writers; nearly all of them were older than I was. Some of them had published material to their credit. Our chats often ended in discussing literary topics. I always listened attentively to their comments on a story, a poem, or an author. I still cherish some of their ideas.
"Due to my unusual zest for books and the protective nature of my mother, and a few other reasons, which kept me away from other children, I became lonely which helped to sharpen my thinking and imagination. l never felt loneliness because I enjoyed dwelling in the domain of my fancy, like Simon who dreams of the Snow King and his castle in my children story Simon and the Snow King....."
(Judith Wouk compares "Simon & the Snow King" and "The Blessings of a Bird" - with lots of spoilers, unfortunately)
(about his life -often grim - and his poetry - the photo is not of him)
(more about his poetry)
(long 2002 print interview about peace and Pakistan)