Anthony Browne is an internationally recognised author and illustrator of children’s books, with more than forty titles to his name. In 2009 he was appointed the sixth Children’s Laureate, replacing Michael Rosen and only the second illustrator to hold the post since Quentin Blake. He creates strongly narrative watercolours that blend near-photographic realism with fantastical, surreal touches and ingenious visual puns. His skilful use of colour, pattern and background detail subtly conveys an exquisite empathy for his lonely and sensitive child protagonists (both human and ape). 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.”
He attended Leeds Art College, where he graduated with a graphic arts degree in 1967. Before focusing full-time on children’s books, he worked as a medical illustrator for three years and illustrated greeting cards for Gordon Fraser in the UK for fifteen years.
His books have received many distinctions, including the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1983 for Gorilla and again in 1992 for Zoo. Gorilla (1983), Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland (1988) and Voices in the Park (1998) all won the Kurt Maschler Emil Award. In 2000 he received the highest international honour for illustration, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, for his services to children’s literature – the first British illustrator ever to win the prize. More recently he was Illustrator in Residence at The Tate, from which he produced The Shape Game.
His work is exhibited widely in exhibitions from London and Paris, the Far East, US and Mexico.