Magical illustrations and stories

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Rye Harbour

Polly Horner, a local published writer and illustrator, came to Rye when her father Cedric Horner had an exhibition in the Rye Art Gallery in the High Street in 1997. Her parents had moved to Iden and, while Polly was living in London with her husband, she visited often.

But when Cedric sadly died shortly after their move and Polly’s marriage broke up, she relocated into the Rye area to be near her mum, Janet. She says: “I have grown to love the area and have lived happily in Rye for the last 14 years with my partner Tristram Bishop.

Polly grew up in a household where art, music and literature were important and this shaped her interest in story telling and illustration. She was inspired by the stories the parents read to her as a child, and writing became later a passion.

She counts among her early influences Oscar Wilde’s children stories and the Brothers Grimm, Baba and Tintin amongst others and she said: “I was entranced by the illustrations of Edward Ardizzone and Raymond Briggs”.

Best new illustrator award

Polly’s first picture book “Polly and the North Star” was published in 2004 and won the Book Trust Early Year award for best new illustrator. More recently she was commissioned by Magma for Laurence King Publishing to illustrate a serious of dogs and cats for Dog and Cat Bingo and best in show ‘trump cards’. Earlier this year Polly created ‘Know your Dogs’, a quiz card game for dog lovers.

Polly has just finished a new book, ‘Colour Bird’, an introduction to colour for pre-school children, and is in the middle of deciding how to have it published. Polly takes on private commissions and is currently finishing the second of two for the recently opened ‘Play Cafe’ in Cranbrook.

More locally, Rye Chocolates are using one of her illustrations on their 2020 Christmas range chocolate bars. Last year Polly illustrated the poster for Rye Christmas Festival. The Ryebank Gallery stocks several of her prints and greeting cards. Her work can be viewed on her website which is greatly recommended.

Image Credits: Polly Horner .

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