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Shirley Hughes, beloved children’s author, dies aged 94

Children’s author and illustrator Shirley Hughes has died aged 94, her family has announced.

Hughes, best known for her much-loved books in the Alfie series, about a boy called Alfie and his little sister Annie Rose – as well as the children’s picture book Dogger, died ‘peacefully at home after a short illness on Friday February 25, 2022,” a statement to the PA news agency said.

Her beloved children’s book Dogger, first published in 1977 about a little boy who loses his stuffed dog toy, won her the Kate Greenaway Medal, which her website says is awarded for “a book outstanding in terms of illustration for children and young people”. people”.

It was a feat Hughes would achieve again, winning the award a second time for Ella’s Big Chance, a reimagining of Cinderella, in 2003.

Throughout her career, she has illustrated some 200 children’s books and accumulated lifetime sales of over 10 million copies of her books.

She was appointed CBE in 2017 for her services to children’s literature, having been appointed OBE in 1999.

Another career first was being awarded the inaugural BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 by a jury that included some of his famous literary colleagues, including Sir Michael Morpurgo and Malorie Blackman.

She said of the accolade at the time, “Being chosen for the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award is a huge honor that I appreciate more than I can say. I’ve drawn so much fulfillment from my long career, first as an illustrator of other artists’ stories and then creating my own.

“Best of all has always been meeting very young children who learn to watch with such rapturous delight and visually follow a story long before they are able to read.”

Sir Michael was quoted as saying of her accolade: “She is also a national treasure for parents, as millions of them too have grown up with Shirley Hughes and now pass on their affection for her stories, her characters and her artwork, to their own children.

“BookTrust’s first Lifetime Achievement Award couldn’t be more deserved.”

The author was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2000 and in 2014 she received the Simon Wiesenthal Centre/Museum of Tolerance Children’s Book Award for Hero On A Bicycle, her first novel published in 2012.

Born in West Kirby, she was the daughter of TJ Hughes – who founded what was to become a successful department store chain from Liverpool, and she studied drawing and costume design at the Liverpool School of Art, and also studied fine art at The Ruskin School of Art, Oxford.

Her early work included illustrations for My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards, the first picture book she illustrated and wrote being Lucy And Tom’s Day in 1960.

In 2017, when asked about her inspiration for Dogger, she told the PA News Agency: “The inspiration behind it was another lost toy. We looked everywhere, but we never found it. (The Real) Dogger was a present for our son when he was two.

“At that point both of his ears collapsed, but (Dogger) was pressed so lovingly against his owner’s face that one ear was pushed up, so when I started to do the story, I used it as a model.

“When the book was finished I was told it was too English to be popular abroad, however it turned out to be my big breakthrough and was published in many different languages ​​all over the world. world.”

Hughes also said when his favorite children’s book was growing up: “I remember being given wonderful fairy tales, especially the illustrated editions by Arthur Rackham, whose collections had wonderful color plates overlaid with silk paper.

“I remember his edition of Peter Pan In Kensington Gardens. Another illustrator whose fairy tale books I enjoyed was Edmund Dulac.

She then collaborated on the Dixie O’Day series with her daughter Clara, who is also an illustrator and guest-editor of an edition of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour in 2017, as well as appearing on Radio 4’s Desert Island records in 2001.

She was married to architect John Vulliamy and the couple had three children – Clara and her sons Ed and Tom.

The family statement added: “Shirley’s books on everyday family life have been adored by generations of families and she is held in the highest regard by her peers.”