The (not so) Magical World of Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett is a name that features on most kids' bookshelves. Her distinctive, interactively illustrated picture books are a firm favourite with kids and parents alike, and have won two Kate Greenaway awards (no one has won three). Her books, including 'Orange Pear, Apple Bear', 'Meerkat Mail' and 'Little Mouse's Book of Fears' are vastly re-readable (a must for books for tinies!) thanks to their witty use of language and interpretive illustrations. Her workshop at Barnes is sure to be bursting with drawing tips, as well as her giving us a sneaky peek of her upcoming book 'Cyril and Pat'. Get your tickets while you can!

Barnes Children’s Literature Festival: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Emily Gravett: I really wanted to be a witch when I was growing up. It soon became apparent (through an unfortunate incident) that I did not possess the requisite magical powers. It was a massive disappointment.

BCLF: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

EG: When I was little my Mum and Dad told me that art (as a school subject) was just as important as maths or science.

BCLF: And the worst?

EG: When colouring in you should stay in the lines.

 BCLF: My favourite word is …

EG: …actually not English. I recently learned the Mandarin for ‘Bus’ is ‘Gong gong qi che’ which I think sounds wonderful.

 BCLF: My greatest fear is…

EG: Putting aside all the big fears (the future, stuff happening to my family etc) I think I’m going to have to say wasps, or maybe the dentist, or . . . Actually I’m not listing any more for fear of looking like a real wimp.

BCLF: My hidden talent is…

EG: I don’t have any hidden talents. Why would anyone hide a talent?

BCLF: Favourite book as a child?

EG: My favourite book as a child was John Vernon Lord’s ‘Giant Jam Sandwich’ It was about a village invaded by wasps. The drawings were intricate and engaging, and it had a fantastic rhyming text.

BCLF: Who is your favourite literary villain? 

EG: The Big Bad Wolf, although I feel he gets unfairly portrayed far too often. All he really wants is a quiet life, and a good dinner.

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