Anthony Browne (b. 1946)
Born in Sheffield, Anthony Browne grew up in Yorkshire and graduated from Leeds College of Art with a graphics degree in 1967. He began work as a medical artist before designing greeting cards and successively writing and illustrating children’s books; his brilliantly realised book Gorilla started off as an idea on the front of a birthday card. He has now reached the pinnacle of illustrative achievement and was named the sixth Children’s Laureate in 2009, an appointment that recognises the importance of exceptional children’s writing in creating the ‘readers of tomorrow.’
Many of his books have been translated into a diverse number of languages, his artwork exhibited world-wide, and the international awards he has won are numerous. Among his many awards, accolades have included being the first British illustrator to win the prestigious, Hans Christian Andersen Award (2000) since its inception, 1956, Gorilla won the Kurt Maschler Award and The Kate Greenaway Medal in 1983, as did Zoo the latter in 1992.
Gorillas feature in many of Anthony’s books. He says, “I am fascinated by them and the contrast they represent – their huge strength and gentleness. They’re thought of as being very fierce creatures and they’re not.”
Anthony Browne is distinguished by his witty and thought-provoking use of surrealism and has illustrated classics including Alice in Wonderland and King Kong; he always acknowledged the classic cult movie of King Kong to be one of the most potent influences on his work. Another gorilla with whom he has had great success is Willy featured in, Willy the Wimp, Willy the Champ, Willy and Hugh, Willy the Dreamer - a series which has been much acclaimed.
Anthony Browne lives in Kent and continues to write and illustrate books for Random House and Walker Books.