Winning Year: 1989 Illustrator: Michael Foreman Title: War Boy: a Country Childhood
Pavilion Current Publisher:
9780140342994 In Print
War Boy is an atmospheric semi-autobiographical account of Foreman's early childhood in Pakefield during World War Two. It is a charming tale of growing up in a sleepy seaside town that is transformed by the War. This area of coastline was targeted by German Bomb raids and Foreman gives his view of how the fear and noise dominated and influenced his childhood. We learn a lot about Foreman's early years; gas masks, gangs, gobstoppers and a great adventure, tinged with sadness.
Michael Foreman was born 1938 in the Suffolk fishing village of Pakefield. His father had died a month before he was born but "during the war the other boys' fathers were away, and that helped me; not having a father didn't seem unusual."
His mother ran the newsagents. "We didn't have any books at all when I was a child," Michael remembers, "although I did read all the magazines we used to get in. My favourite was John Bull because it always had a drawn cover."
He studied at Lowestoft School of Art and later at the Royal College of Art, where he won a scholarship to America. After graduating, he lectured at St Martin's School of Art and then moved to Chicago where he worked as Art Director of Playboy. He later returned to London and worked as Art Director of King. He returned to lecturing in 1967 and has since worked at the Royal College of Art, the London School of Printing and the Central School of Art.
His career as an illustrator began earlier in 1961. Over the years he has illustrated books by Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Roald Dahl and Rudyard Kipling, as well as writing and illustrating his own books. He has designed Christmas stamps for the Post Office and regularly contributes to American and European magazines.
The illustrations are so informative and wonderfully evocative of the period. the pictures are full of humour and character.