Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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On tour: Lucy Cousins

English writer and illustrator Lucy Cousins is the creator of the ‘Maisy’ books. She will be travelling to the Perth Writers Festival and Adelaide Writers’ Week in February/March and appearing at an event in Sydney.

What would I put on a shelf-talker for your latest book?

1, 2, 3, cheep, cheep, cheep! Help Maisy count 10 cuddly chicks on the farm.

What am I reading right now?

I’m reading The Children Act by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape). It’s really powerful, and confronts some unbearable dilemmas.

With my half-Italian grandson, I’m reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle, Puffin) in Italian. We love it, and it’s a great way to try to learn a foreign language.

What am I planning to read next?

The Shepherd’s Life by James Rebanks (Penguin). It’s written by a sheep farmer from the Lake District in England, about the way of life that has existed there for centuries. It’s an area I love, and where I have enjoyed walking for the past 30 years, so I’m fascinated to read it.

Which book do I always recommend?

Cockatoos by Quentin Blake (Random House), which my children and I always found hilarious and beautiful.

What was the defining book of my childhood?

The Story of Babar: The Little Elephant (Jean de Brunhoff, Egmont). I have happy memories of reading it with my Dad. I really loved the pictures, as well as Babar’s kind and brave character, and the amazing adventures he had. It was such a nostalgic joy to read it again with my own children, and soon I can enjoy it again with my grandson. My original copy will be delighting a third generation.

If I was a literary character I’d be…

My daughter insists I’d be Winnie the Pooh, though my partner says I can be more like Tigger, and then I do have my Eeyore days.

What is my favourite book adaptation?

I generally find it quite hard to enjoy an adaptation of a book I’ve read, because I develop such strong images in my mind, and then usually someone else’s interpretation just doesn’t seem right. I did enjoy the stage version of War Horse. The amazing puppetry was an extra dimension that didn’t exist in the book.

What is my favourite books website or blog?

I tend to save all my book browsing for when I’m in a bookshop.

Hardback, paperback or digital?

Definitely hardback. I love having a real book in my hands, feeling the paper as I turn the pages, looking at a shelf of books that I’ve enjoyed. Sometimes a paperback is more practical. But it doesn’t matter what form of book suits each individual, as long as they experience the joys of reading.

Facebook or Twitter?

I don’t use either.

In 50 years’ time books will be…

Just as important as they are now. The brilliant thing about books is that there are so many different types, for so many different types of people, in different circumstances. So however life might change, I think books will adapt and will always be valued.


Category: Junior newsletter On tour On tour