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Katie May Green

As a child

I grew up in Shropshire, where there are rolling hills and deep woods. At home there was always a messy pile of books next to my bed, plus a sketch pad and a pot of felt-tip pens. My duvet was covered in felt-tip pen stains. At weekends I used to make little stapled-together books with my friend across the road; we created a whole series.

As an adult

I thought I wanted to be a costume designer. When I was at university I spent lots of my spare time designing and making the costumes for university theatre shows. It turned out I wasn't so good at the sewing side of things. After a few office jobs, a few years of illustrating for greetings card companies, and a growing desire to make my own stories, I got a place on an M.A. course in children’s book illustration at Cambridge School of Art. During my time at Cambridge I got the idea for my first picturebook, Seen and Not Heard (published in 2014): it was inspired by a visit to an art museum. I’d been standing in front of an old, grand portrait of four children in very fine clothes, and I wondered what the children were really like… whether they were as angelic as they seemed on the canvas in their fancy frames, or whether they had another side to them… After the book came out, the Seen and Not Heard children just couldn't leave me alone: it seemed they wanted to share secrets of further adventures, outside in the moonlit grounds of their house, Shiverhawk Hall, and beyond into the woods. These secrets turned into my next book, Hide and Seek (pub. October 2019). Now that I make children’s books as a job, my role is not just the costume designer, but the director, the script-writer, the lighting designer, the set designer and all the actors’ voices as well! It's hard work but great fun... and luckily for me there is very little to do in the way of sewing.

Things you didn’t know about Katie

  1. I once lived on the top floor of a museum, up five flights of stairs, in a very old, rather spooky building.
  2. I can say the alphabet backwards: my granny taught me this important life skill.
  3. My favourite meal is boiled eggs with soldiers (soldiers as in toast. Although it might be interesting to share a boiled egg with some real soldiers).

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