Thursday, March 14, 2013

Happy Birthday Judith!



Judith Kerr’s Creatures

A celebration of the life and work of Judith Kerr

Published 6 June (£25,00, Harper Collins Children’s Books)


Judith Kerr, one of the best-loved authors and illustrators working in Britain today celebrates her 90th birthday in June 2013. 


The books she has created including The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Mog the Forgetful Cat, and her three autobiographical novels Out of the Hitler Time, have become classics of children’s literature, loved by generations of readers.


But what of the life behind these iconic characters. In this retrospective book, Judith Kerr’s Creatures that includes illustrations, early paintings and drawings, as well as photographs and memorabilia, Judith tells her own story, and of the ‘creatures’, the much-loved characters that spring to life from the pages of her books, and the people closest to her – her parents, husband, family and friends who have played a part in her inspirational life.


She looks back on her life from her early childhood in Berlin, dramatically cut short by her family having to flee Germany when the Nazis came to power, to her time at art school and her chance meeting with her time at the BBC in the 1950s and her long and happy marriage to the celebrated screenwriter Nigel Kneale, creator of the British television’s first major hit, The Quatermas Experiment, and her own illustration and writing that have framed her life. 


The joy of this very special book is hearing the story from Judith herself, simply told with her wonderful sense of humour and honesty. There are insights into what life was like at the time and into the lives of the people around her.


As Judith says, “And that’s it, really. All being well, by the time this autobiography is published I shall be ninety. It has been an amazingly full and happy life, but it could so easily not have been so. If it hadn’t been for my parents’ foresight, if this country hadn’t given us shelter, and if sixty years ago I hadn’t gone to lunch in the BBC canteen . . .! 


Once, as a teenager talking to my father, I said that perhaps I might like to do illustration one day, and he said, “You’ll have to work very hard, because they are very good at it in this country.” He was right. They are. I think I am very lucky to have joined them.”

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