Shirley Hughes

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Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes.jpg
Born (1927-07-16) 16 July 1927 (age 94)
West Kirby, England
OccupationIllustrator, writer
GenreChildren's literature, picture books
Notable works
Notable awardsKate Greenaway Medal
1977, 2003

Shirley Hughes, CBE (born 16 July 1927) is an English author and illustrator. She has written more than fifty books, which have sold more than 11.5 million copies, and has illustrated more than two hundred. As of 2007 she lives in London.[1][2][3][4]

Hughes won the 1977 and 2003 Kate Greenaway Medals for British children's book illustration.[4][5][6] In 2007, her 1977 winner, Dogger, was named the public's favourite winning work of the award's first fifty years.[7][8] She won the inaugural Booktrust lifetime achievement award in 2015.[9] She was a recipient of the Eleanor Farjeon Award. She is a patron of the Association of Illustrators.[10]

Early life[edit]

Winifred Shirley Hughes was born in West Kirby, then in the county of Cheshire (now in Merseyside). The daughter of Liverpool store owner Thomas James Hughes and his wife Kathleen (née Dowling), she grew up in West Kirby on the Wirral. She has recalled from childhood that she was inspired by artists like Arthur Rackham and W. Heath Robinson, and later by the cinema and the Walker Art Gallery.[11] She was educated at West Kirby Grammar School, but she says that she was not a particularly good student academically, and when she was 16, she left school to study drawing and costume design at the Liverpool School of Art.[9] She later also attended the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford.[2]

After art school she moved to Notting Hill, London.[12] In 1952, she married John Sebastian Papendiek Vulliamy, an architect and etcher.[13] They had three children together, the journalist Ed Vulliamy, the geneticist Tom Vulliamy, and Clara Vulliamy, who is also a children's book illustrator.[14]


At Oxford, Hughes was encouraged to work in the picture book format and make lithographic illustrations. She was soon commissioned by book publisher William Collins, Sons to illustrate another writer's book.[who?] During the 1950s and 1960s, she worked primarily as an illustrator for the books of other authors, including My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards and The Bell Family by Noel Streatfeild.[12] The first published book she both wrote and illustrated was Lucy & Tom's Day, which was made into a series of stories.[1] She went on to write over fifty more stories, including Dogger (1977), the Alfie series (1977), featuring a young boy named Alfie and sometimes his sister Annie-Rose, and the Olly and Me series (1993).[14] The Walker Art Gallery in her hometown of Liverpool hosted an exhibition of her work in 2003, which then moved to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.[15][16]

In WorldCat participating libraries, eight of her ten most widely held works are Alfie books (1981 to 2002).[17] The others are Dogger (rank second) and Out and About (1988).

Hughes wrote her first novel in 2015, a young-adult book titled Hero on a Bicycle.[9]


Dogger (1977), which she wrote and illustrated, was the first story by Hughes to be widely published abroad[11] and it was recognised by the Library Association's Kate Greenaway Medal as the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject.[4] In celebration of the 70th anniversary of the companion Carnegie Medal in 2007, it named one of the top ten Greenaway Medal-winning works by an expert panel and then named the public favourite, or "Greenaway of Greenaways". (The public voted on the panel's shortlist of ten, selected from the 53 winning works 1955 to 2005. Hughes and Dogger polled 26% of the vote to 25% for its successor as medalist, Janet Ahlberg and Each Peach Pear Plum.)[7][8][18][19]

Hughes won a second Greenaway (no illustrator has won three) for Ella's Big Chance (2003), her own adaptation of Cinderella, set in the 1920s.[5][6] It was published in the U.S. as Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella (Simon & Schuster, 2004). She was also a three-time Greenaway commended runner up: for Flutes and Cymbals: Poetry for the Young (1968), a collection compiled by Leonard Clark; for Helpers (Bodley Head, 1975), which she wrote and illustrated; and for The Lion and the Unicorn (Bodley Head, 1998), which she wrote and illustrated (Highly Commended).[20][a]

In 1984, Hughes won the Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to children's literature, in 1999 she was awarded an OBE, and in 2000 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She was also granted an Honorary Fellowship by Liverpool John Moores University[12] and Honorary Degrees by the University of Liverpool in 2004 [21] and the University of Chester in 2012.[22]

Booktrust, the UK's largest reading charity, awarded Hughes with their first lifetime achievement award in 2015.[9]

Already Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), Hughes was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2017 New Year Honours for services to literature.[23]


Alfie stories[edit]

  • Alfie Gets in First
  • Alfie Gives a Hand
  • Alfie Wins a Prize
  • Alfie's Feet
  • Alfie's Weather
  • An Evening at Alfie's
  • The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Story Book
  • Rhymes for Annie Rose

Other stories[edit]

  • Moving Molly
  • Bathwater's Hot
  • Noisy
  • When We Went to the Park
  • All Shapes and Sizes
  • Colours
  • Two Shoes, New Shoes
  • Out and About
  • Dogger
  • Lucy and Tom's Christmas
  • Lucy and Tom at the Seaside
  • Tales of Trotter Street
  • Hero on a Bicycle
  • The Christmas Eve Ghost
  • The Lion and the Unicorn
  • Helpers
  • Dogger's Christmas


  1. ^ Today there are usually eight books on the Greenaway shortlist. According to CCSU, some runners up through 2002 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 Hughes and Jane Simmons in 1998.
    • No one has won three Greenaway Medals. Among the fourteen illustrators with two Medals, Hughes is one of seven with one book named to the Anniversary Top Ten (1955–2005); one of seven with at least one highly commended runner up (1974–2002); one of six with at least three commendations (1959-2002).


  1. ^ a b Shirley Hughes – Penguin UK Authors Archived 20 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  2. ^ a b Random House profile. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  3. ^ Times Online: It's all about Alfie. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  4. ^ a b c (Greenaway Winner 1978) Archived 6 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  5. ^ a b (Greenaway Winner 1991) Archived 29 January 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Shirley Hughes wins second CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 26 years after her first" Archived 17 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Press release 9 July 2004. CILIP. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  7. ^ a b "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 29 June 2012.
  8. ^ a b "70 Years Celebration: The public's favourite winners of all time!". The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards. CILIP. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d Emily Drabble, Shirley Hughes: I hope books survive, they are wonderful pieces of technology, The Guardian, 6 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Association of Illustrators". Archived from the original on 12 July 2016.
  11. ^ a b Shirley Hughes at Walker Books Archived 1 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  12. ^ a b c Shirley Hughes – Alfie, Dogger and Friends Archived 27 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  13. ^ "Hughes, Shirley, (Mrs J. S. P. Vulliamy), (born 16 July 1927), free-lance author/illustrator". WHO'S WHO & WHO WAS WHO. 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U21128. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  14. ^ a b Booklist of Works by Childrens Book Illustrators Archived 3 September 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 1 January 2007.
  15. ^ "Shirley Hughes, Alfie, Dogger and Friends". Liverpool museums. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  16. ^ "Ashmolean Museum: Features – Exhibitions – More Details". Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  17. ^ "Hughes, Shirley". WorldCat. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Pullman wins 'Carnegie of Carnegies'". Michelle Pauli. 21 June 2007. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  19. ^ "Carnegie of Carnegies & Greenaway of Greenaways". Christchurch City Libraries Blog. 22 June 2007. Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 2012-12-03.
  20. ^ "Kate Greenaway Medal". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  21. ^ "Popular children's author to receive honorary degree – University of Liverpool". 8 July 2004. Retrieved 26 January 2011.
  22. ^ "Honorary degree for favourite children's author". 17 December 2012. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  23. ^ "No. 61803". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2016. p. N9.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Shirley Hughes", in Books For Keeps (1984 May), pp. 14–15
  • Kate Moody, "A is for Artists", in Contact (1984 Spring), pp. 24–25
  • Shirley Hughes, "Word and Image", in M. Fearn, ed., Only the Best is Good Enough: the Woodfield Lectures 1978–85 (1985)
  • Elaine Moss, Part of the Pattern (1986), pp. 107–12
  • D. Martin. "Shirley Hughes", in Douglas Martin, The Telling Line: Essays On Fifteen Contemporary Book Illustrators (Julia MacRae Books, 1989), pp. 148–66
  • Shirley Hughes, A Life Drawing (The Bodley Head, 2002)

External links[edit]