happy 80th, shirley hughes!

I sometimes think about what it would be like to meet my favourite writers and illustrators, and wonder what they’re like. But it’s also a bit terrifying when so many of them are gathered in one room. While the froth of London Fashion Week was going on outside, the real people who I think make London cool and transcend style were gathered for a quiet celebration in the small RCA’s senior commons room. I’ve written a review of the event for WriteAway, and I was felt very privileged (and slightly bewildered) to be there.

Shirley Hughes is amazing. While I don’t always connect with the style of her artwork, I have huge respect for her long career and her marvelous draughtsmanship and design skills. Like Philip Pullman said in his speech, she communicates a love for her subjects, who are us; and when she does so, we are loved. Shirley Hughes hasn’t even thought about retirement yet and she hinted at various books in the works. That’s one of the great things about illustrating: you just get better and better, and since it’s something you love, it’s what you want to do long past days when you would stop going to an office for a different profession.

I made an effort to meet Philip Pullman, since I’m a huge fan of ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, and he was patient and spoke to me for awhile. I was very glad to talk with Jane Ray, whom I’d met earlier in Newcastle at a SCBWI conference. It was exciting to meet Posy Simmonds for the first time, and I’m looking forward to her talk for Comica at the ICA in November. I briefly met Jacqueline Wilson, bedecked in her customary rings. And seeing Anthony Browne made me laugh, because he somehow looks so much like his artwork.
…What an evening! I do so love living in London.

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