Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes – Author and Illustrator


Shirley Hughes CBE (1927 – 2022) was our patron for many years until her death, aged 94.  We are very proud to have had Shirley’s support as a patron and know that her legacy will live on and on in her beautiful books. Shirley’s books continue to be an important part of our programme and we know that they will continue to be the books that make children readers for years and years to come.

Shirley was a highly-respected and popular British author and illustrator, having written over 70 books and illustrated over 200. She was best known for her series about the pre-schooler Alfie, and for her story about a lost toy Dogger. Along with her book of poems Out and About these form the start of so many children's reading journeys. Her scenes of familiar every day family life, wordless picture books like Up and Up and stories for older children such as The Lion and the Unicorn delight both the listener and reader.

Shirley was born on 16th July 1927 in West Kirby, near Liverpool. She studied fashion and dress design at Liverpool Art School, before continuing her studies at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford. She then embarked on a career as a freelance illustrator in London where she continued to live for the rest of her life.

Shirley began to write and draw her own picture books when her children were young. Her first book, Lucy and Tom’s Day, was published in 1960. Her final story, Dogger’s Christmas, was published in 2020 - 43 years after the original.

Shirley Hughes has won the Other Award, the Eleanor Farjeon Award, and the Kate Greenaway Medal for Illustration twice, for Dogger in 1977 and for Ella’s Big Chance in 2003. In 2007 Dogger was voted the public’s favourite Greenaway winner of all time. 

She was the first ever recipient of the Booktrust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015, celebrating her outstanding contribution to children’s literature.

Shirley was awarded an OBE in 1999 for services to Children’s Literature and in 2017 became a CBE for services to literature.