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Niamh Sharkey

As a child

Niamh grew up in the 1970s when everything was brown. Her mum says that “she always had her head stuck in a book." Saturday was her favourite day when she got her copy of the Beano, she loved Dennis the Menace and The Bash Street Kids. Niamh’s best friend Michelle was brilliant at art and got her hooked on drawing. Her favourite books when she was a little one were Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and Dr Seuss’s The Cat In The Hat.

As an adult

Niamh dreamed of travelling far, far away so she set off for Australia. She lived in a tent and a wooden hut in Tasmania, got tickled by a possum in Melbourne, drove a 1976 Holden around the outback, and then lived from a backpack in India before she came home. Home is now by the sea, in a little town near Dublin, called Skerries.

As an artist

At school her mum wanted her to be sensible; to study a science and a business subject. Niamh decided against that and so she worked as a pot washer, a waitress, a roundy-toed shoe-saleswoman, a piano teacher and a lifeguard before she decided to draw for a living. Her first book Tales of Wisdom and Wonder collected both The Mother Goose Award and The Bisto Book of the Year Award in 1999. Her second book The Gigantic Turnip was a great success and has been translated into twenty languages. Her books The Ravenous Beast, Santasaurus and I’m a Happy Hugglewug have also have continued to receive critical acclaim, I’m a Happy Hugglewug won the Scottish Highland Children’s Book Award in 2007 and is currently being developed into a pre-school animation series with Brown Bag Films. Her latest book is Cinderella, written by Max Eilenberg.

Things you didn't know about Niamh Sharkey

  1. Niamh thinks everyone can draw.
  2. Niamh loves sweets, especially sour ones.
  3. Niamh loves hats.
  4. Niamh doesn’t like the colour brown.
  5. She loves getting hundreds of children to ‘ROAR’ really loudly in libraries.
  6. Niamh would love to surf big waves in Hawaii.
  7. Niamh doesn’t like science and business subjects. (Sorry, Mum!).
  8. D’you ever see ET? Niamh loves that film.
  9. Niamh’s studio is very messy.
  10. She hates tidying up.

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