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Cliff Wright (1963–) Biography - Personal, Career, Member, Writings, Sidelights

books england london bear

Born 1963, in Newhaven, England; Education: University of Brighton, B.A. (honors), 1986.

Career

Children's book writer and illustrator. Commercial artist; conducts "Art of Seeing" workshop.

Member

Greenpeace.

Writings

SELF ILLUSTRATED

When the World Sleeps, Hutchinson (London, England), 1989.

Crumbs!, Hutchinson (London, England), 1990.

The Tangleweed Troll, Gollancz (London, England), 1993.

(With Miriam Moss) Henry's Kite, Hazar Publishing, 1996.

Santa's Ark, Millbrook Press (Brookfield, CT), 1997.

(With Miriam Moss) Windswept, Hazar Publishing, 1997.

Bear and Kite, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2005.

Bear and Ball, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2005.

The Three Bears, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 2006.

ILLUSTRATOR

Gerald Durrell, Puppy Tales, Andrex, 1993.

Kenneth Grahame, Wind in the Willows, Ladybird Books (London, England), 1994.

Frances Ball, The Flying Squirrel and Other Stories from the Woodland, Peter Lowe, 1995.

(With George Buchanan and David Barnett) A Treasury of Classic Stories, Ladybird Books (London, England), 1995.

Ann Jungman, Sasha and the Wolfcub, Collins Children's Books (London, England), 1996.

(With Alex Brychta) Roderick Hunt and others, Oxford Reading Tree: Stages 109: Rhyme and Analogy: Story Rhymes, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

Karen Hayles, The Star That Fell, Ladybird Books (London, England), 1996.

Joan Stimson, Are We Nearly There?, Ladybird Books (London, England), 1998.

Nicola Baxter, reteller, Peter and the Wolf (based on the Symphony by Sergei Prokofiev), Ladybird Books (London, England), 1999.

Kathryn White, Good Day, Bad Day, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 2000.

Kathryn White, When They Fight, Winslow Press (Delray Beach, FL), 2000.

Caroline Pitcher, Are You Spring?, Dorling Kindersley (New York, NY), 2000.

Adèle Geras, My Wishes for You, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.

Creator of cover illustrations for two volumes in the "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling.

Sidelights

Although children's book author and illustrator Cliff Wright has received a large measure of renown for creating the cover illustrations for the second and third installments in J.K. Rowling's phenomenally popular "Harry Potter" series—Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban—his career yields far more jewels. His highly detailed watercolor art has included original books and illustrations for a wide range of works by authors ranging from Ann Jungman to Kenneth Grahame. Praising Wright's work in illustrating Adèle Geras's My Wishes for You, Lauren Peterson wrote in Booklist that Wright's "exquisite" paintings, done in subdued, earthen tones, feature "beautifully rendered animal characters" that leave young readers with a "warm feeling."

Among Wright's original self-illustrated tales is a trio of toddler-sized board books that includes Bear and Ball, Bear and Kite, and The Three Bears. Praising his artwork for Bear and Ball, Be Astengo wrote in School Library Journal that Wright's illustrations are "nostalgic" in their evocation of beloved works from the nineteenth century, "an older, classic time" known as the Golden Age of Illustration. The critic continued that Wright's "delightful" board books "are perfect for parents to share … and may even find an audience with beginning readers."

"Wright once told SATA: "I began writing seriously whilst at college, studying illustration. I have always
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been most enthusiastic about developing my own ideas rather than illustrating someone else's, so the college projects which encompassed writing with pictures interested me most. Therefore, on leaving college I had a very generalized portfolio with no particular direction, although it did contain some ideas and wasn't just a collection of artwork. From that and the response from some publishers I quickly decided that writing/illustration for children was made for me."

As Wright explained, his first book, When the World Sleeps, "started its life with too many words. It was obviously necessary to edit severely, and eventually I came to the conclusion that the story could be told with just pictures, encouraging kids to make up their own stories—although a great many publishers were concerned at this idea of a wordless picture book. As part of my own learning process, however, I have come to realize that it is essential to 'go with what you believe in,' and at last, two and a half years after it was conceived, When the World Sleeps was accepted for publication.

"I think it's important to develop and stretch your own capabilities, so with each successive project I have tried to introduce something different. With Crumbs! I hope this can be seen with the introduction of onomatopoeic words and a greater emphasis on my figurative drawing. In The Tangleweed Troll I have tried to further the drawing still with regard to expression and movement and to develop a stronger story line—in this case every kid's desire to venture beyond his own backyard."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, December 15, 1997, Julie Corsaro, review of Santa's Ark, p. 704; December 15, 2002, Lauren Peterson, review of My Wishes for You, p. 766.

Publishers Weekly, September 9, 2002, review of My Wishes for You, p. 66.

School Library Journal, December, 2002, Be Astengo, review of My Wishes for You, p. 96; July, 2005, Be Astengo, review of Bear and Ball, p. 85.

ONLINE

Cliff Wright Home Page, http://www.specview.net/ cliffwright (January 30, 2006).

Templar Publishing Web site, http://www.templarpublishing.co.uk/ (January 30, 2006).

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