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Daniel Postgate

As a child

I was born in Whitstable hospital back in 1964. I was the youngest of six children, three of the children were from my mother’s previous marriage. I grew up in Blean, a village just outside Whitstable, we lived in a large house which was once a pub. My father was Oliver Postgate who made children’s television programmes in a pig-shed on a nearby farm. I spent a good deal of my time on my own in the woods behind our house, taking our dogs for walks and thinking up funny little stories. Needless to say I was very influenced by my father’s work and the artwork and model-making of his partner, Peter Firmin. My other illustrative influences are Quentin Blake, Tony Ross, Maurice Sendak, Don Martin, Sempe and Dr Seuss.

As an adult

I didn’t go to Art college after school. Instead I worked as a chef, and also learned to paint by painting horse and sea-scenes on old boxes which were sold in a local antique shop. I’d always enjoyed drawing cartoons and when I moved to London I showed my cartoons to the people at The Sunday Times where I became a regular contributor. I eventually decided to chance my arm at children’s book illustration. I wrote a story and made it into a rough book which I sent to fifteen publishers. Eventually, after many months, one of the publishers wrote back and said they’d like to publish it. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since!

As an artist

Now I live back in Whitstable. I have a partner and two children, a cat, a dog and a fish; so I work in a shed at the bottom of the garden. Although I started up primarily as an illustrator, these days I find myself writing more and more and sometimes other people illustrate my words instead. I especially enjoy writing rhyming books. These aren’t too popular with some publishers however (because they can’t easily sell them to other countries because of translation problems). I think this is a shame as rhyming books can make a short story far richer and are a useful way to help children to learn to read. My book Smelly Bill won the Nottingham Children’s Book Award and the Norfolk Children’s Book Award. Its sequel Smelly Bill Stinks Again was shortlisted for the Sheffield Children’s Book Award.

Things you didn't know about Daniel Postgate

  1. I have eaten snails and frogs’ legs.
  2. My grandfather was leader of the Labour Party.
  3. My dog’s name is Daisy, after my grandmother.
  4. I am dyslexic.
  5. My daughter Florence has my eyes.
  6. My father’s first name isn’t really Oliver, it’s Richard.
  7. I was once chef and housekeeper for Ozzy Osbourne and his band (but only for a week).
  8. I sometimes take a nap in the middle of the day (like Spanish people do).
  9. My ancestor was Father Nicholas Postgate, a Roman Catholic priest. This was illegal in England at the time, so when he was caught, in 1679 (at the age of eighty), he was hanged, drawn and quartered.
  10. My son Harry refuses to have his hair cut.

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