Babette Cole was 'one of the finest illustrators of her generation' and an author of 'witty and original stories' told in fun and innovative ways. Born in 1949, she studied at the Canterbury College of Art. She began her by working in television on animated programmes such as Bagpuss. She then began illustrating greetings cards and story books, publishing her own book, Basil Brush of the Yard in 1977. The Trouble with Mum (1983) and Princess Smarytpants (1986) are her most famous works, turning traditional fairy-tales upside down. Her other stories include Nungu and the Hippopotamus (1978), Hair in Funny Places (1999) and Mummy Laid an Egg! (1993), which all introduce a range of difficult topics to children. Her stories won many awards including The British Book Trust Award and Children’s Book of the Year. An animal lover, countryside dweller and keen rider, many of her loveable characters were inspired by her animal companions. Babette Cole passed away on 14th January 2017.
Patrick Gale is author of 20 novels including A Place Called Winter (2015) which was was a Radio 2 Book Club selection, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Prize, the Walter Scott Prize and the Green Carnation Award. He has written a two-part film, Man in an Orange Shirt. His first two novels, The Aerodynamics of Pork and Ease were published by Abacus on the same day in June 1986. The following year he moved to Camelford near the north coast of Cornwall and began a love affair with the county that has fed his work ever since.
Patrick lives on a farm near Land’s End with his husband, Aidan Hicks. There they raise beef cattle and grow barley. Patrick is obsessed with the garden, creating in what must be one of England’s windiest sites, England’s westernmost walled rose garden. As well as gardening, he plays both the modern and baroque cello. Patrick is a patron of the Charles Causley Trust and the Penzance LitFest, a director of Endelienta and artistic director of the North Cornwall Book Festival.
Michael is a renowned author, poet, playwright and librettist best known for his children's books. He grew up in London, Sussex and Canterbury before joining the army. After deciding this was not for him, he went on to become a teacher. Michael and his wife Clare then started a new chapter and set up the charity Farms for City Children (which aims to provide children with memorable experiences about the world around them), moved to Devon and set up the large house where the children could stay. It has been in Devon that Michael has written the majority of his books. He has received an abundance of awards for his children's stories and some of his works have become films and stage shows, such as the highly-acclaimed War House (1982). His titles include Why the Whales Came (1985), The Butterfly Lion (1996), Kensuke's Kingdom (1999), Private Peaceful (2003), Running Wild (2009) and An Eagle in the Snow (2016).
Alice was trained as a classicist at New College, University of Oxford. Her first collection of poetry, The Thing in the Gap-Stone Stile (1996), received a Forward Poetry Prize for Best First Collection. Her second book, Dart (2002), was the outcome of years of research into the history, environment, and community along the River Dart in Devon. Oswald’s other collections of poetry include Woods, etc. (2005), winner of a Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize Weeds and Wild Flowers (2009), illustrated by Jessica Greenman; A Sleepwalk on the Severn (2009); and Memorial (2011), a reworking of Homer’s Iliad that has received high critical praise for its innovative approach and stunning imagery and which won the 2013 Warwick Prize for writing. Oswald was the first poet to win the prize. Her latest book is Falling Awake (2016). Oswald’s many honours and awards include an Eric Gregory Award, an Arts Foundation Award for Poetry, a Forward Prize for Best Single Poem and a Ted Hughes Award. (Credit: The Poetry Foundation).
Mal Charles Peet was an English author and illustrator who grew up in Norfolk and started his first novel when he was 52. Keeper (2003) won the Branford Boase Award. His second novel, Tamar (2005) won the annual Carnegie Medal awarded by the libraries' association CILIP and recognising the year's best children's book published in the UK. The Penalty (2007) was shortlisted for the Book Trust Teenage Prize and Peet won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize for Exposure (2008), a modern re-telling of Shakespeare's Othello. Life: An Exploded Diagram (2011), a semi-autobiographical novel, was his last book for young readers. The Murdstone Trilogy (2014) is his first work aimed at adult readers. Mal Peet spent many years in Exmouth before he sadly passed away in 2015. His unfinished manuscript, Beck, was finished by his friend and peer Meg Rosoff, and published by Walker books in 2016.
Philip Reeve trained as an illustrator, and worked for many years providing cartoons and illustrations for the Horrible Histories and Murderous Maths books. He has written several highly acclaimed books for children and his first novel, the multi award-winning Mortal Engines, published in 2001, has been made into a film directed by Christian Rivers. His other novels include Carnegie winner Here Lies Arthur and the Goblins trilogy of comic fantasy stories. In 2013 he joined forces with illustrator Sarah McIntyre to create Oliver and the Seawigs, the first in a series of funny, highly-illustrated adventure stories which continued with Cakes in Space, Pugs of the Frozen North, Jinks and O'Hare Funfair Repair, the activity book Pug-A-Doodle-Do and Roly Poly Flying Pony: The Legend of Kevin. Philip returned to older fiction in 2015 with Railhead, a critically acclaimed adventure set in a future. The sequel, Black Light Express, was published in 2016, and the story concludes in Station Zero (2018). Philip lives on Dartmoor with his wife and son.
Novelist and short-story writer, William Trevor was born in Mitchelstown, Republic of Ireland in 1928. After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, he worked briefly as a teacher and then a copywriter before working full-time as a writer from 1965. His first novel, A Standard Behaviour, was published in 1958, however, he considered The Old Boys (1962) to be his debut. His short story collections include The Day We Got Drunk on Cake and Other Stories (1967), The Ballroom of Romance and Other Stories (1972) and Beyond the Pale (1981). William Trevor has won many awards for his novels: The Old Boys won the Hawthornden Prize in 1964, The Children of Dynmouth was awarded the Whitbread Novel Award in 1976 and The Story of Lucy Gault was shortlisted for the 2002 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. William Trevor was awarded an honorary CBE in 1977 for his services to literature, made a Companion of Literature in 1994 and was knighted in 2002. He was also a sculptor and exhibited frequently in Dublin and London. William Trevor passed away in November 2016.