It was great to be back home for The Belfast Book Festival last week and wonderful to see so many familiar faces. Thanks to all who made it down! The kids were amazing and we had a go at making some of these projects from the activity pack which you can download here. Thanks to everyone that came along and to The Crescent Arts Centre for having us!
Delighted with this 5 heart review from Foreword! Thanks so much!
“Being perfect is hard work. But when Percival Priggs, who’s afraid his parents won’t love him anymore if he makes a mistake, miscalculates disastrously in his latest project—he learns that being the best is nowhere near as important as being himself. Hilarious details are scattered cleverly throughout this story, which is sure to become a favorite. With his fluffy puff of wild hair, Percival may not be perfect, but he’s certainly lovable—and, according to his parents, the best son ever. Ages five and up.“ Reviewed by Aimee Jodoin.
Thanks to the Horn Book Guide for this lovely review!
“Perfect Percival doesn’t know how to break it to his perfect parents: he’s tired of trying to be perfect. A Percival-launched mishap finally forces the issue, and his parents come clean with evidence of their own occasional failures. This story is witty and reassuring and features brilliant visual details (Percival’s parents’ attic contains a box of their incomplete crossword puzzles).“
Delighted with the comparisons they made here! Thanks to Publishers Weekly for this review :) http://www.publishersweekly.com/9780762455065
“Percival and his parents are hardcore overachievers: “They each had a shelf to display their awards... and they were always competing for more,” writes debut author-illustrator Graham. Secretly unhappy (“He didn’t even like half the things he had been entered in”), Percy soldiers on until he accidentally wrecks an obsessively constructed cake and a perfectly trimmed hedge that his mother and father were preparing for upcoming contests. And that’s when he learns that maybe he was looking at his parents in the wrong light: “We’re not perfect,” says his father. “But we love what we do so we keep trying.” Graham’s sweetly odd characters (the family shares wormlike oversize heads and thick black eyeglasses), goth-lite vibe, and gift for exaggeration may remind readers of offbeat fare such as Coraline or James and the Giant Peach. The final scene ties up the narrative bow too predictably, but readers will come away recognizing the value in not letting the perfect be the enemy of the good, as well as investing energy in pursuits one actually enjoys. Ages 3–up. Agent: Kathleen Ortiz, New Leaf Literary & Media. (May)“
I love this video. In my story Percy stops becoming afraid of failure when he sees his parents have tried and failed and it's alright. He sees they have eventually found success in the things they were passionate about because they just kept trying.
It's impossible to learn anything without failing. We can remind children that it's ok. Fail more. Fail bigger! And revel in what you learn as a result.
To download an activity sheet for kids based on this click here.
Delighted to hear that the first review for The Perfect Percival Priggs is out! Thank you very much to Kirkus Reviews for their thoughts.
"The mayhem itself is solid slapstick, and the buildup is well-paced. . . . Decidedly delightful."
You can read the review in full here.
Delighted to hear our Buntus Cainte/Learn Gaelic app for Talk Irish/BBC has been nominated for an Eircom Spider Award in the Irish Language Category. Hooray!
"Established in 1996, the eircom Spiders are now in their 19th year making them the longest standing and most prestigious internet awards in Ireland. They reward Irish businesses and community organisations for their creativity and innovation and provide an important opportunity to recognise and showcase online excellence."
We'll be keeping our fingers crossed for the Awards Ceremony on Thursday, 20th November in Dublin!
Here are some pics from our graduation show in the Candid Gallery London. We had a great time and far too much wine was consumed! I’m really going to miss my wonderful classmates and tutors :( booooo! I wish I could do it all over again!
It’s been such an amazing experience! I was very proud to have my work displayed alongside everyone, there was so much incredible work. Simona Ciraolo was the very well deserved winner of the Walker Books Sebastian Walker Award. Well done Simona!
Back row - left to right - Ailsa Burrows, Wen Dee Tan, Carol Reynoldson, Hrefna Braggadottir, Jo Weaver, Renata Galindo. Front row - left to right - Hannah Carby, Ciara Houlihan, Kim Morris, Carolina Rabei.
Left to right - Renata, Hrefna and our fabulous tutor Marta Altes :)
Lovely ladies June and Yeykung :)
Carolina and Marta enjoy a well deserved drink!
Awwww! Fabi, Hrefna and Jo :)
Back row - left to right - Ryan Medlock, Michal Shalev, Carolina Rabei, Fabi Santiago, Ailsa Burrows, Ariane Hoffman-Mayinar, Hannah Carby, Renata Galindo, Hrefna Braggadottir, Sasha Haddad, Lila Veerapen. Front row - left to right - Ciara Houlihan, Izzy Phoenix, me, Jesse Colon.
Well, the MA I’ve been undertaking for the past year and a half is finally coming to an end. It’s been an amazing experience and I’ve enjoyed it so much. I’ve learnt so many new things and made some wonderful friends. And next week we get to celebrate!
Our graduation exhibition opens in the Candid Gallery in Angel next week. If you happen to be in London between 11th-15th February do pop in. It’s the Tenth Anniversary of the course, and this year there are sixty-four students graduating from over twenty different countries! It’s well worth a look. I have seen their work and let me assure you it is beeeeaaauuutiful!!!
You can look at the MA show website to get a sneak preview. I can’t wait to wander round and get to enjoy it all with a glass of wine :)
I’ll be there Thursday afternoon from 2-6pm and on Saturday. If you fancy popping in for a chat I’d love to see you :)
I find the work and vision of Tim Walker endlessly inspiring. A Vogue photographer who trained under Richard Avedon in New York, he’s a consummate storyteller who takes inspiration from classic tales such as The Princess and the Pea, Swan Lake, The Wizard of Oz but gives them his own particular Alice in Wonderlandlike twist. I adore his photographs which are so rich in mood, beauty and narrative. I want to step into his world, where everything is achingly beautiful and crumbling. Where everything and nothing makes sense.
Here is a wonderful quote from him which I think applies as much to illustrators as photographers.
"When I think about it, photographs, to me are really a kind of dream state…and, as you tour your imagination you want to photograph what you are seeing…BUT…the only way you can do this is by BELIEF…really utterly/absolutely/passionately firmly believing…you are so very keen to show what you’ve seen that somehow it becomes true, and the pictures become a souvenir, a piece of proof brought back all the way from the daydream.”
I had the good fortune of visiting his exhibition in Somerset House last year and spent hours ooohhing and ahhhing over the giant props, full size prints and wandering transfixed from one piece of art to the next. If you missed the exhibition get the book Tim Walker: Storyteller. You’ll be happy you did.
And check out his website for his most recent work based on mermaids.
I am delighted to say that my first picturebook The Perfect Percival Priggs is going to be published in Spring 2015 by Running Press Kids in the USA! I am SO delighted and thrilled! Big big thanks to my amazing agent Kathleen Ortiz for making it all happen and for Lisa Cheng for taking it on. I’m so looking forward to working with her :)
You can read more about it here in the newsletter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
I am just getting used to the idea of blogging about things :) I will have to start doing it on a more regular basis.
Here’s a little pic of the Priggs family. Aren’t they awfully neat and tidy?