Chris Riddell has been appointed the ninth Waterstones Children’s Laureate, announced on June 9 at a ceremony in London. Successful as both an illustrator and an author, Riddell has won a CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for Pirate Diary: The True Story of Jake Carpenter (Candlewick) and a second for Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels and also, as an author, the Costa Award for Goth Girl. He is best known in the U.S. for the bestselling fantasy series The Edge Chronicles (Random House), which he co-wrote with with Paul Stewart and illustrated on his own. His U.K. bestselling collaborations with Neil Gaiman including The Sleeper and the Spindle and a boxed set of paperback editions of Fortunately the Milk, The Graveyard Book and Coraline, both set for publication from HarperCollins in fall 2015. In addition to his illustrations for children books – and adult books – Riddell is also a political cartoonist for the Observer newspaper in London caricaturing U.K. and U.S. politicians including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Riddell is the third illustrator to be the UK Children’s Laureate succeeds Quentin Blake, the first appointment in 1999 and Anthony Browne, appointed in 2009. Riddell is dedicating his term of office to championing creativity in schools and to encouraging families to unleash their imagination by drawing together every day. To encourage families to keep their own visual diaries he will create his own online visual diary – Laureate’s Log – which will chart his different activities.
When asked by PW how he felt about the appointment, Riddell replied:
And, in answer to what his plans would be for the next two years, Riddell added: