The first ever Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award winner is the author and illustrator of more than 200 cherished children’s books, Shirley Hughes OBE.
The prize, which celebrates the body of work of an author or illustrator who has made an outstanding contribution to children’s literature, is being presented to Shirley during Book Trust’s Children’s Book Week (6-12 July), during which children up and down the country are celebrating great books.
Among Shirley’s most celebrated works are the Alfie stories, a series of beautifully illustrated picture books about a boy’s world, and Dogger, which was voted the public’s favourite Kate Greenaway Medal winner of all time. Described by Philip Pullman as a ‘national treasure’, Shirley is currently collaborating with her daughter, Clara Vulliamy on the Dixie O’Day series, which was has been described as a ‘mother-and-daughter dream team.’ Dixie O’Day is included in the Book Trust Best Book Guide 2015 to be launched during Children’s Book Week. Shirley’s books also feature in the Book Trust listing of the 100 Best Books.
Shirley was born in West Kirby, near Liverpool, and studied fashion and dress design at Liverpool Art School, before continuing her studies at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford. She then embarked on a career as a freelance illustrator in London where she has also illustrated other writers’ work, including Noel Streatfeild, Alison Uttley, Ian Serraillier, Margaret Mahy and Dorothy Edwards’ My Naughty Little Sister series.
Shirley began to write and draw her own picture books when her children were young. Her first book – Lucy and Tom’s Day – was published in 1960, and then followed the Dogger and the Alfie series. Shirley has won the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration twice, for Dogger in 1977 and for Ella’s Big Chance in 2003. In 1984, Shirley won the Eleanor Farjeon Award for her distinguished service to children’s literature, and in 1999 was made an OBE.
Shirley’s first novel, Hero on a Bicycle, was published three years’ ago, after decades of success with her picture books, and her second novel, Whistling in the Dark, has just been published by Walker Books
Now in her ninth decade, Shirley has sold more than 9 million books and continues to delight children, parents and grandparents with their favourite fictional toddler, publishing a brand new Alfie book, Alfie Outdoors, in August. She is also reissuing her very first book as author/illustrator, Lucy & Tom at the Seaside, marking the title’s 55th year in publication.