Sommerset, Mark

Sommerset, Mark

In Brief

Mark Sommerset is a full-time children’s book author and publisher who 'loves stories that make you laugh, think or dream'. His first book Cork on the Ocean (2005) was followed in 2008 by Cork and the Bottle, both illustrated by Rowan Sommerset. The Herald on Sunday described Cork on the Ocean as 'Beautiful, unique, charming. A book to be treasured'. Baa Baa Smart Sheep (2010) won the Children’s Choice at the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2011.


Sommerset, Mark (1968 –) is a full-time children’s book author and publisher. He lives on Waiheke Island with his wife Rowan Sommerset and son Linden. Over the years he has worn many hats including milk boy, barman, singer/songwriter, music consultant and copywriter. He was born in Christchurch and attended Westlake Boys High School in Auckland, and graduated with a Bachelor of Management Studies from Waikato University.

These days, when he is not writing or spending time with his family, Mark is often busy running Dreamboat Books, an independent publishing business established with his wife and creative partner Rowan for the purpose of publishing their own work. As a publisher as well as writer, Mark enjoys sharing his experience of self-publishing alongside the stories he creates.

Mark Sommerset's first book, Cork on the Ocean, was self-published in 2005 before Random House took the paperback rights in 2007. It tells the story of a seahorse-riding, shark-evading, butterfly-befriending Cork as it sails across the open sea. The Herald on Sunday called it 'Beautiful, unique and charming', while John McIntyre on National Radio described the book as 'absolutely delightful'. A sequel to Cork on the Ocean, Cork and the Bottle, was published by Random House in 2008.

Baa Baa Smart Sheep (2010) was the first book to be published under Mark and Rowan Sommerset's new publishing imprint Dreamboat Books. A 'snappily written, gorgeously illustrated' (Canvas Magazine) account of a clever sheep outsmarting a gullible turkey, Baa Baa Smart Sheep was the recipient of the 2011 Children’s Choice award in the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. In the same year Dreamboat Books published Mark's fourth book, The Silliest Dream - an ethereal and emotive poem beautifully illustrated by acrylics artist Ingrid Berzins.

Two Little Bugs (2011) is a story about finding your wings. Once again illustrated and designed by Rowan Sommerset it was reviewed by John McIntyre who described it on National Radio as 'a stunning book' featuring a number of die-cut holes and shapes through which the reader can follow a caterpillar as it eats its way from one side of the leaf to the next.

Two Little Bugs by Mark and Rowan Sommerset was selected as a 2012 White Raven, one of 250 outstanding children’s books published around the world in 2011.

Mark Sommerset is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools programme.


Mark Sommerset is available to visit schools as part of the Writers in Schools programme. He is able to speak to children aged up to 9 years. He is happy to read his stories, talk about being a picture book writer and discuss the process of self-publishing.

Feedback from Writers in Schools visits

'Just to let you know that the feedback I’ve had from teachers and students after your visit was extremely positive. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed your presentations. Thank you. We hope you enjoyed your visit as much as we did.' Jackie – Kaukapakapa Primary.

'Thank you for visiting. The kids had a great day and have been buzzing about meeting you. There has been some ongoing writing in the classrooms about dreams and some sequels to Baa Baa Smart Sheep I hear! Looking forward to your next book!' Jane Russell – Librarian – Kohia Terrace School


Updated January 2017.