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PAM ROYDS 1924 - 2016

Pam Royds on Grasmere , 1971 with Sally Christie, children’s author and daughter of Philippa Pearce. I was just twenty two when I fir...

About Me

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United Kingdom
My blog is about writing and illustrating children's books which I have been doing since 1974. www.gillianmcclure.com has all my books. I also have another blog: www.paulcoltman.blogspot.com where I publish my father's poems.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


In a week my exhibition of picture book art at Newby Hall ends and I've just heard that the Seven Stories Children's Book Centre have bought the artwork of these three pages of Selkie.  I'm thrilled and will be donating the dummy and a sketch book to go with them. 

I've found it difficult to sell my Selkie artwork so knowing that it is part of the Seven Stories collection comes as a great relief.   

Wednesday, 21 April 2010


I discovered a wonderful new independent bookshop on Saturday - the Book Hive in Norwich. It has some beautiful and unusual children's books; the choice of an enthusiast, Henry Layte. His shop is so enticing it's hard to leave without a purchase. There are comfortable chairs for sitting and browsing - even a free cup of coffee. No wonder it was full of Grannies enjoying buying very special books for very special grandchildren.

Friday, 16 April 2010


I set out thirty six years ago as an author/illustrator but during the past decade I've been more writer than illustrator; holding a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellowship for three years and producing a dozen or so unpublished picture book texts. Now I want to return to being author/illustrator again, revisit those texts - all at dummy book stage - and complete the artwork.
    I'm aware I've not chosen a very good time to do this when publishers are taking fewer and fewer picture books like mine.

 However, when a benefactor gave me £5,000 to proceed on a book, I saw my chance.  I created the Plaister Press (named after my benefactor) and republished Selkie in order to fund the first of my unpublished picture books. Now I have the happy prospect of years of illustrating ahead of me, working at my own pace, without hiatus and delay which I find so destructive to the process of creating a book and enjoying not just the interrelation of image and text, but typography too, as I work closely with freelance typographer and designer, Lisa Kirkham.

Monday, 12 April 2010


The Colonsay bookshop has agreed to take forty copies of my new edition of Selkie; both Georgina and Christa who run the shop sounded delighted the book was back in print.
The Inner Hebridean island of Colonsay was the inspiration for this book. We'd had a decade of family holidays there when our children were young.

I loved the rugged landscape and the atmosphere of the past clinging to it -
the ruined village

-the old bedsteads built into the dry stone dykes.

I drew on the atmosphere of this remote place for my story -

even using some of the inhabitants, like the oysterman, as characters in the story.

Getting books to the island bookshop called for ingenuity. In the end I found friends going there in June who agreed to deliver them for me. So last week, on my way to a family wedding in Sussex, I was a book rep for a day, dropping books destined for Colonsay off in Woking before delivering more copies to the Steyning Bookshop. 

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


When Random House wouldn't re-print Selkie, I was frustrated. Selkie had sold steadily for over a decade and would continue to do so, if kept in print. So I decided to re-issue it myself. I got back the rights - something that's becoming increasingly difficult to do - found a typographer who had a particular interest in picture books and a good local printer who would print 1,000 copies at a reasonable price.
    I now have a small warehouse under my spare room bed.

It's great being able to take Selkie into schools again; one of my most popular workshops is about magical creatures that change shape and is based on this book. 
    Now I feel I've become a shape changer myself - author/illustrator turned publisher. I'm in control again but, like the Selkie, I must make sure I don't lose my old skin if I want to change back and complete the next book.

Friday, 2 April 2010


After an early start and a three hour drive north with the car full of pictures in bubble wrap I arrived at Newby Hall last Tuesday to hang my exhibition.

The events manager, Lara Strangeway helped me -

- just as well, or the exhibition might never have been up in time for the pre-season drinks party in the evening.

At lunch time, there was a moment to slip into the gardens and sketch.

Gardeners were busy everywhere; cutting back and tidying the borders, unwrapping statues - before the new season started. 

Inside, food was being prepared, drink poured and the waiters lined up ready to serve. In the past it would have been the same - a huge amount of activity opening up the house and welcoming back the family after a winter's absence. Today it was not the family being welcomed back but the general public - in particular the season ticket holders.

They all turned up on a dark rainy night to enjoy the party in the Grantham Room.
Here I'm with fellow children's writer, Daphne Peters, whom I ran across before the room filled up and the signing and selling started.