Dogger and Alfie author Shirley Hughes dies aged 94

Children’s author and illustrator Shirley Hughes has died at the age of 94, her family has said.

Hughes, best known for her much-loved books in the Alfie series, about a boy called Alfie and his little sister Annie Rose, as well as picture book Dogger, died ‘peacefully at home after a short illness on Friday 25th February 2022’, a statement to the PA news agency said.

Her beloved children’s book Dogger, first published in 1977 about a little boy who loses his stuffed dog toy, went on to win her the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal, which recognises outstanding illustration in children’s literature.

It was an achievement that Hughes would obtain again, winning the prize a second time for Ella’s Big Chance, a reimagining of Cinderella, in 2003.

Throughout her career, she illustrated 200 children’s books and hit sales of more than 10 million copies of her books.

She was appointed a CBE in 2017 for her services to Children’s Literature, having been made an OBE in 1999.

Author, poet and former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen paid tribute to Hughes, tweeting: ‘Shirley Hughes has gone. Long live wonderful, lovely Shirley. You’ve delighted and moved us for years and years and years and will go on doing so. @ShirleyHughes_.’

Another first in her career was being awarded the inaugural BookTrust Lifetime Achievement award in 2015 by a judging panel which included some of her celebrated colleagues from the literary world, including Sir Michael Morpurgo and Malorie Blackman.

She said of the accolade at the time: ‘Being chosen for the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award is a tremendous honour which I appreciate more than I can say. I have derived so much fulfilment from my long career, first as an illustrator of other artists’ stories and then creating my own.

‘Best of all has been perennially encountering very young children who are learning to look with such rapt pleasure and follow a story visually long before they are able to read.’

Sir Michael is quoted as saying of her accolade: ‘She is also a national treasure to parents, because many millions of them too have grown up with Shirley Hughes and are now passing on their affection for her stories, her characters and her illustration, to their own children.

‘BookTrust’s first Lifetime Achievement Award could not be more richly deserved.’

She was married to architect John Vulliamy and the couple had three children – Clara, and sons Ed and Tom.

The family statement added: ‘Shirley’s books about everyday family life are adored by generations of families and she is held in the highest esteem by her peers.’

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