Shirley Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award

ACHUKA was privileged to be invited to Book Trust’s presentation of the first Lifetime Achievement to Shirley Hughes yesterday, at the Orangery in Holland Park.

Michael Morpurgo agave an introductory speech (written in the mistaken assurance that Shirley would be wearing a hat, as she generally does to literary parties) which had just the right mix of humour and veneration. There were lots of ‘great & good’ people in attendance, including the new Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.  It was a particular pleasure for me to see Clare Hall-Craggs acting as Shirley’s chaperone as well as meeting up with, for the first time in years, Ted Dewan, both longtime ACHUKA friends. After the formalities, a local Y2 class were treated to a special live drawing session in an outside marquee. Shirley drew Alfie running and two illustrations based on comical rhymes, all undertaken in a charming non-performance-like way, so that it was as if we were watching her draw in a home setting. I wish my three grownup children and both grandchildren, all of whom have loved her books, could have been there. 

The cupcakes featuring Shirley Hughes book jackets (pictured below) were made for the occasion by Bluebell Kitchen.


Shirley drawing Alfie



Chris Riddell sketching as Shirley draws

Chris Riddell sketching as Shirley draws



Lifetime Achiever Talks to new Laureate


specially commissioned cup-cakes



Clare Hall-Craggs speaking with Shirley towards the end of the event


The winner:

The Adventures of Shola, by Bernardo Atxaga, Pushkin Children’s Books, 2013, translated from Basque Margaret Jull Costa.

and the full shortlist:

Other Titles on the The Shortlist

Waffle Hearts

Waffle Hearts, by Maria Parr, Walker Books, 2013, translated from Norwegian by Guy Puzey.The judges say: ‘An extremely funny story. It captures brilliantly the relationship between the young and the old, above all, the growing realisation of the narrator that he has a best friend in the character of Lena. A total delight.’

The Letter for the King, by Tonke Dragt, Pushkin Children’s Books, 2014, translated from Dutch by Laura Watkinson.

The Letter for the King

The judges say: ‘A hugely satisfying read; traditional in style, fast- paced and full of action. It is an odyssey peopled with strong, well-drawn characters, told in rich, flowing language that makes it hard to put down. It tells of a quest, of love, loyalty and bravery. It is a book full of heart.’

My Brother Simple, by Marie-Aude Murail, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2012, translated from French by Adriana Hunter.

My Brother Simple

The judges say: ‘A moving, often very funny story, in which well-rounded characters face an all too common difficulty: how do we care for someone who does not fit into society’s norms? Describing the diverse young cast’s first forays into sex and real love with humour and warmth, this excellent translation is a riveting page turner from start to finish.’

The Good Little Devil and Other Tales, by Pierre Gripari, Pushkin Children’s Books, 2013, translated from French by Sophie Lewis.

The Good Little Devil

The judges say: ‘A great rediscovery by Pushkin Press. This is a collection of surreal and magical stories. A potato and a Sultan fall in love, a pig swallows the Pole Star, a great hero gets no credit for his heroic deeds because his name is just too awful – it is all really timeless and often utterly odd. Sophie Lewis’s clever and imaginative translation brilliantly preserves the stories’ humour and their offbeat charm.’

Anton and Piranha by Milena Baisch, Andersen Press, 2013, translated from German by Chantal Wright.

Anton and Piranha

The judges say: ‘Anton is deeply disappointed when his grandparents take him on holiday to a caravan park without the swimming pool of his dreams, so he seeks consolation with a pet perch named Piranha. Baisch gives the reader subtle insights into a child’s insecurities in a story told with plenty of humour and accompanied by witty, expressive illustrations from Elle Kusche.’’s-literature-in-translation-2015-shortlist