a drink with sally

I was going stir-crazy today from painting all day like a maniac for an upcoming picture book deadline, so I popped out to the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Awards to get some air and a glass of wine with the lovely Sally Nicholls. (You may remember I made her a big foam airship for the launch of her book Ways to Live Forever.) Since she won the award last year, she was presenting it to this year’s winner, Michelle Harrison, who bagged the five thousand squid for her book The Thirteen Treasures. I thought I could say ‘you read it here first’, since I came home early to do more work tonight (no party girl, me) but the BBC have already beat me to it. (They are so quick, these guys.)
Sally’s the one giving the speech, and in the line of nominees, Michelle’s the one in the red dress:

When the prize was announced, I was standing next to publisher Barry Cunningham and author Rachel Ward (black blouse, with the glasses), who didn’t win the prize. But I must say, the write-up for her book, Numbers, sounded the most interesting of the lot. It’s about a girl who can see exactly when each person is going to die when she meets them, and how that affects her relationships with them. That sounds a lot like a daydream I had as a kid, on long car journeys, when I imagined I could see a billboard on top of every single car on the freeway, saying exactly where each car was going and why they were going there.

And here’s a little portrait I did the other day for a DFC prize winner named Katherine. (Keep checking the DFC website for all sorts of competitions.) I hope she doesn’t mind being a mermaid, but in the photo, she had great hair that I thought would be fun to make all swirly.

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