A girl stares you defiantly in the eyes, brandishing an umbrella like a rapier, her cape blowing in the wind; a hideous, wraith-like creature with razor- sharp teeth prepares to lure a victim to their death; the leopard print shoes of Theresa May emerge from a dustbin as it rolls towards the Brexit abyss; a beautiful winged horse emerges from the clouds...
Welcome to the wonderful world of Chris Riddell, the former Children’s Laureate known globally for his intricate, imaginative and hugely engaging drawings, whether in children’s books, in his political cartoons for the Observer or, indeed, on the cover of this year’s LitFest brochure.
Riddell has illustrated – and often written – many of the most popular children’s books of recent decades: the Goth Girl series, The Edge Chronicles, Ottoline, Muddle Earth, The Emperor of Absurdia, Fergus Crane, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Wendel’s Workshop. Now we have Guardians of Magic, the first in a new series, The Cloud Horse Chronicles, in which three ordinary children, with extraordinary gifts, come together to defeat the enemies who threaten the mysterious cloud horses.
His talent – recognised with an OBE earlier this year – is a triumph of the imagination. He will be drawing throughout the event.