New Year’s Honours: Steyning’s Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, to be honoured

A Steyning-based, multi-million selling children’s author is to be recognised in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List.

Julia Donaldson, best known for her rhyming children’s adventures such as The Gruffalo, will be made a Commander of the British Empire for services to literature.

DM18102789a.jpg. Book signing with Julia Donaldson at Steyning Bookshop as she celebrates the release of three new books �' Animalphabet - The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes - Bombs and Blackberries. ' Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-181020-200632008

DM18102789a.jpg. Book signing with Julia Donaldson at Steyning Bookshop as she celebrates the release of three new books �' Animalphabet - The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes - Bombs and Blackberries. ' Photo by Derek Martin Photography. SUS-181020-200632008

The former Children’s Laureate sprung to fame in 1999 with her tale of a mouse’s search for the mysterious Gruffalo and the woodland creatures he meets along the way.

The book has gone on to sell more than 13 million copies, won numerous awards and been adapted into films, television shows, spin-offs and a real-life Gruffalo trail in the Forest of Dean.

Ms Donaldson, who is already a Member of the British Empire, said it was vital children maintained access to literature.

“I am delighted to receive this honour, and regard it as an acknowledgement of the dedication of all those who work in the world of children’s books - the authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers, librarians, teachers and organisations and charities that promote the enjoyment of reading,” she said.

“I also want to take this occasion to highlight how the access of children throughout our country to reading and libraries is endangered with libraries shutting and the jobs of many professional librarians lost. This trend needs urgently to be reversed if we want today’s children to have the same opportunities my generation had to become widely-read, informed and imaginative adults.”

Ms Donaldson has written more than 200 books and plays, often collaborating with illustrator Axel Scheffler, who provided the pictures for The Gruffalo.

She has lived in the Horsham district for more than five years and was recently named as patron of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019.

Read more about her plans as patron here: Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo, will be patron of Horsham District Year of Culture 2019

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