Anthony Browne (author)

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Anthony Browne
Browne in 2010
Browne in 2010
BornAnthony Edward Browne
(1946-09-11) 11 September 1946 (age 77)
Sheffield, Yorkshire, England
OccupationIllustrator, writer
GenreChildren's picture books
Notable worksGorilla
Notable awardsKate Greenaway Medal
1983, 1992
Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration

Anthony Edward Tudor Browne CBE (born 11 September 1946[1]) is a British writer and illustrator of children's books, primarily picture books. Browne has written or illustrated over fifty books, and received the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2000.[2][3][4] From 2009 to 2011 he was Children's Laureate.[5][6]

Browne won two Kate Greenaway Medals from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration. For the 50th anniversary of the Medal (1955–2005), a panel named his 1983 medalist Gorilla one of the top ten winning works, which composed the ballot for a public election of the nation's favourite.[7]

Life and work[edit]

Anthony Browne was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire. His parents, Jack and Doris May Browne, ran a pub called the Red Lion (now the Wyke Lion) at Hellfire Corner between Bradford, and Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, and Browne and his older brother Michael grew up there.[citation needed] As a young boy, he enjoyed art, and used to draw with his father. He also played rugby and cricket. His career ambition was then to be a journalist, a cartoonist, or a boxer.[8] He studied graphic design at Leeds College of Art, where he graduated in 1967.

When he finished school Browne intended to become a painter, but being short of money he took a job as a medical illustrator, producing detailed paintings of operations for Manchester Royal Infirmary. After three years he grew tired of the job's repetitiveness and moved on to design greeting cards for Gordon Fraser. He designed cards for five years before he started writing and illustrating his own books.

Browne's debut book both as writer and as illustrator was Through the Magic Mirror, published by Hamish Hamilton in 1976. A Walk in the Park followed next year and gained a cult following[citation needed] and Bear Hunt (1979) was more successful commercially.[9] His breakthrough came with Gorilla, published by Julia MacRae in 1983, based on one of his greeting cards. For it he won the Kate Greenaway Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject.[10] He was a highly commended runner-up[a] for an edition of Alice in Wonderland (1988),[11] he won the 1992 Medal for Zoo[12] and he was again highly commended for Willy's Pictures (2000).[11]

Gorillas are frequently featured in Browne's books, as he has said he is fascinated by them. He was once asked to present a children's programme, whilst sitting in a cage of gorillas, and despite being badly bitten by one of them he completed the interview before being taken to hospital.[13] his character "Willy" is said to be based on himself.[14]

Browne and writer Annalena McAfee won the 1985 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, Picture Book category, for Mein Papi, nur meiner! (The Visitors Who Came to Stay). He also won the Kurt Maschler Award "Emil" three times, which annually (1982 to 1999) recognised one British "work of imagination for children, in which text and illustration are integrated so that each enhances and balances the other."[15] Browne was a winner for Gorilla (Julia MacRae Books, 1983), Alice's Adventure in Wonderland (MacRae, 1988) and Voices in the Park (Doubleday, 1998), as the illustrator of all three books and the writer of two.[15]

In 2000 Browne was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, an international award given to an illustrator for their body of work. This prize is the highest honour a children's writer or illustrator can win and Browne was the first British illustrator to receive the award.

In 2001–2002 Browne took a job as writer and illustrator at Tate Britain, working with children using art as a stimulus to inspire visual literacy and creative writing activities. It was during this time that Browne conceived and produced The Shape Game (Doubleday, 2003).

On 9 June 2009 he was appointed the sixth Children's Laureate (2009–2011), selected by a panel that former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion chaired.[5]

Browne's books are translated into 26 languages and his illustrations have been exhibited in many countries including; The United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, France, Korea, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, and Taiwan. He currently lives in Canterbury, England.

Browne was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to literature.[16]


As writer and illustrator[edit]

  • Through the Magic Mirror (Hamish Hamilton, 1976)
  • A Walk in the Park (Hamilton, 1977)
  • Bear Hunt (Hamilton, 1979)
  • Look What I've Got! (Julia MacRae Books, 1980)
  • Bear Goes To Town (Hamilton, 1982)
  • Gorilla (MacRae, 1983) —winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration[10] and the Emil[15]
  • Willy the Wimp (MacRae, 1984)
  • Willy the Champ (MacRae, 1985)
  • Piggybook (MacRae, 1986)
  • I Like Books (MacRae, 1988)
  • The Little Bear Book (Hamilton, 1988)
  • A Bear-y Tale (Hamilton, 1989)
  • Things I Like (MacRae, 1989)
  • The Tunnel (MacRae, 1989)
  • Changes (MacRae, 1990)
  • Willy and Hugh (MacRae, 1991)
  • Zoo (MacRae, 1992) —winner of the Greenaway Medal[12]
  • The Big Baby: a little joke (MacRae, 1993)
  • Willy the Wizard (MacRae, 1995)
  • Willy the Dreamer (Walker, 1997)
  • Voices in the Park (Doubleday, 1998) —winner of the Emil[15]
  • My Dad (Doubleday, 2000)
  • Willy's Pictures (Walker, 2000) —highly commended for the Greenaway[11][a]
  • Anthony Browne Presents the Animal Fair: a spectacular pop-up (Walker,2002)
  • The Shape Game (MacRae, 2003)
  • Into the Forest (MacRae, 2004)
  • My Mum (Doubleday, 2005)
  • Silly Billy (Walker, 2006)
  • My Brother (Doubleday, 2007)
  • Little Beauty (Walker, 2008)
  • Me and You (Doubleday, 2011) —a retelling of The Story of the Three Bears in a contemporary setting
  • Play the Shape Game (Walker, 2011)
  • How Do You Feel? (Walker, 2011, ISBN 9781406330175)
  • One Gorilla, A Counting Book (Walker, 2012)
  • What If...? (Doubleday, 2013)
  • Willy's Stories (Walker, 2014)
  • Frida and Bear (Walker, 2015)
  • Willy and the Cloud (Walker, 2016)
  • Hide and Seek (Doubleday, 2017, ISBN 9780857534910)

As illustrator[edit]

  • Hansel and Gretel by Brothers Grimm (MacRae, 1981)
  • The Visitors Who Came to Stay by Annalena McAfee (Hamilton, 1984) – winner of the 1985 German youth literature prize for picture books in its German-language translation retaining Browne's illustrations
  • Knock, knock! Who's there? by Sally Grindley (Hamilton, 1985), picture book
  • Kirsty Knows Best by Annalena McAfee (MacRae, 1987), picture book
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (MacRae, 1988) – an edition of the 1865 classic, highly commended for the Greenaway[11][a] and winner of the Emil[15]
  • Trail of Stones by Gwen Strauss (MacRae, 1990), picture book
  • The Night Shimmy by Gwen Strauss (MacRae, 1991), picture book
  • The Topiary Garden by Janni Howker (Hamilton, 1993), short stories published 1991
  • Anthony Browne's King Kong (MacRae, 1994) – from the 1932 novelised story of King Kong
  • The Daydreamer by Ian McEwan (New York: HarperCollins, 1994), novella
  • Anthony Browne, Playing the Shape Game by Joe Browne (Doubleday, 2011), biography

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Today there are usually eight books on the Greenaway Medal shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners-up through 2002 up were Commended (from 1959) or Highly Commended (from 1974). There were 99 commendations of both kinds in 44 years; 31 high commendations in 29 years, including Browne and two others for 1988, Browne alone for 2000.
    • No one has won three Greenaways. Among the fourteen illustrators with two Medals, Browne is one of seven with one book named to the top ten (1955–2005) and one of seven with at least one Highly Commended runner-up (1974–2002), led by Helen Oxenbury with four and Browne with two.


  1. ^ "Anthony Browne". Author & Illustrator Archive. The Wee Web ( Archived from the original on 22 October 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  2. ^ "Browne, Anthony". Original artwork from children's book illustrators. Images of Delight. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  3. ^ "Hans Christian Andersen Awards".International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  4. ^ "Anthony Browne" (pp. 104–05, by Sus Rostrup).
    The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. IBBY. Gyldendal. 2002. Hosted by Austrian Literature Online ( Retrieved 2013-07-23.
  5. ^ a b Flood, Alison (9 June 2009). "Gorilla artist Anthony Browne becomes children's laureate". The Guardian.
  6. ^ "Anthony Browne: Children's Laureate 2009–11". Children's Laureate ( Booktrust. Retrieved 28 September 2013.
  7. ^ "70 Years Celebration: Anniversary Top Tens" Archived 27 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine. The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. CILIP. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Anthony Browne". Walker Books. Archived from the original on 14 December 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  9. ^ Eccleshare, Julia (28 July 2000). "Portrait of the artist as a gorilla. Interview: Anthony Browne". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 7 January 2008. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  10. ^ a b (Greenaway Winner 1983) Archived 17 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d "Kate Greenaway Medal" Archived 16 September 2014 at the Wayback Machine. 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  12. ^ a b (Greenaway Winner 1992) Archived 29 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  13. ^ Atkinson, Frances (2 July 2006). "Monkey Business". The Age. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  14. ^ "Anthony Browne interview". Just Imagine. Retrieved 3 June 2023.
  15. ^ a b c d e "Kurt Maschler Awards". Book Awards. Retrieved 26 June 2008.
  16. ^ "No. 63218". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2020. p. N8.

Further reading[edit]

  • D. Martin, "Anthony Browne", in Douglas Martin, The Telling Line: Essays On Fifteen Contemporary Book Illustrators (Julia MacRae Books, 1989), pp. 279–90.
  • Jane Doonan, "The object lesson: picture books of Anthony Browne", Word & Image 2:2 (1986 April–June), pp. 159–72.
  • Tony Bradman, "Through the magic mirror: the work of Anthony Browne", British Book News, 1984 Autumn [Children's Books], pp. 2–5.
  • Ellen Handler Spitz, Inside Picture Books, Yale University Press, 1999, pp. 192–94.

External links[edit]

Cultural offices
Preceded by Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom
Succeeded by