Library welcomes Ed Boxall

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Ed Boxall’s career began with illustration and it is still at the heart of his work. He illustrates all his own books and loves to illustrate for authors such as Brian Moses, James Carter and Roger Stevens. He studied Printmaking at college and makes handmade prints with traditional techniques including linocut and woodcut.

Ed Boxall

Ed visited Rye Library on Wednesday, October 25 as part of his mini-winter tour and performed his story based on his picture book Carried Away with the Carnival with original illustrations along with poems and songs from his previous books, much to the delight of his audience.

Ed commented: “My performances include joyful, silly, serious, emotional, and dreamy songs, poems and stories. They are fully inclusive with a lot of interaction and light and shade. I carefully adapt my performances to different age groups and situations.”

In this interview we find out a little bit more about this fascinating author and his book We The Wild Ones.

What inspired you to write We The Wild Ones?

The Wild! I’ve always had fantasies of living in the wild. Perhaps spending my life up a tree or exploring mountains and far off places and never going home. These are fantasies that I would never really do. I really love central heating and cozy pyjamas and wouldn’t last 5 minutes in the real wild! But I like to dream…
“So, the wild in the book is a place of imagination and dreams. In the book I get to spend a lifetime up a tree and I explore faraway places.

“So, the ‘wild’ in the book has two meanings. It means real wild places like unexplored mountains and forests and oceans. But it also means inner wild: the wild unexplored land of your mind, your dreams, your imagination. Really wild equals freedom and endless possibilities.

The book is a mix of poems, stories and pictures. This is quite unusual. Why did you choose to mix it up like this?

“Well, when I was a child we had these textbooks at school for English class that really were a wonderful fun mix of poems, art and stories. You even had a gallery section that was just a collection of pictures. I’m not sure if you get books like that in schools now. I just loved that mix. You could dip in and find something surprising on every page. It felt free! It felt wild!

“I write poems, prose stories, and make art so it seemed really normal to have a mix like those lovely old English textbooks. There is even a gallery section at the end of the book called Further Travels in The Unsomewhere.

What is the Unsomewhere!?

“The Unsomewhere is another universe beyond the sky. It’s a parallel world like Narnia. It appears in several of the poems and stories. The Unsomewhere is mysterious. I like mystery. It’s not mapped out and explained like Narnia. I don’t like mapping out and explaining things. I like mystery!

“Unsomewhere is a made-up word. I love made-up words and there are lots in the book. Like smistral and symphostratal.

Who are the wild ones?

“Well, in the book the wild ones are the boy and the cat on the cover. They appear throughout the book. But also we are all wild ones and hopefully everyone who reads the book or comes to one of my performances of the book is a wild one too.

You mentioned performances. Tell us a bit more about that…

“I love to perform. I got into performing through visiting schools and sharing my books. Slowly I started getting more and more into the performing side of things. So now I set lots of my poems to music and turn them into songs often with bits that children can join in with. Sometimes singing but also lots of moving around and jumping up and down. I also have a wild ones drama game that children join in with when I visit schools and libraries. To me, performing is completely as important as the books.

Your last book Carried away with the Carnival was very colourful. This one is black and white. Why?

“I really loved going full colour with Carried Away with the Carnival – after all carnivals are all about colour. But We the Wild Ones is all about dreams, imagination, and daydreaming. For me- and this is a very personal thing- dreams thoughts are black and white. There is something very special about wandering around a black and white image in your imagination.

Ed Boxall

How have you made the illustrations?
“It all gets very messy while I’m making illustrations. There’s pens, pencils, paints, oil crayons and lots and lots of cutting and sticking. My pictures are a big old mix of different things, just like the book!

It is wonderful to be able to showcase local authors and we hope to have more in the next few months.

Image Credits: Kt bruce , Henry Young .

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