Kitty Crowther [ Belgium ]
Kitty Crowther, born in Brussels in 1970, daughter of a British father and a Swedish mother, says that her love for books is the result of an inborn hearing impairment, which meant she learned how to speak quite late. She considers herself a storyteller, and she tells her stories in texts and images. After graduating from the Brussels Art Academy she turned her passion into her profession.
Crowther has published more than 30 books for children, including own stories, but also illustrations for the Dutch writer Toon Tellegen and other well-known authors. In 2010 she received the Astrid Lindgren Award, the prize for children’s books with the highest prize money in the world. The jury considered the narrative worlds of the Belgium author extraordinary and special, and argued: »Kitty Crowther is the master of the line and the atmosphere. She manages, transforms and renews the narrative approach of the picture book. In her world the door between imagination and reality is wide open. […] Humanism and empathy shape and merge in her oeuvre«. Her stories are related to reality, yet they do not want to map reality in a true-to-life mode. They rather invite the reader to embark on a journey, to discover, associate, and imagine, and, in doing so, do away with any conclusive answer. Kitty Crowther uses a limited array of tools for her literary enactments of texts and images, and, thus, creates her own mood. Her style relies on spontaneity and she prefers a new start over the revision. Kitty Crowther consciously picks themes that refer to difficult aspects of a child’s life, e.g. family conflicts, personal crises, the longing for self-determination, the issue of death and loneliness, as for instance in »La visite de Petite Mort« (2004; tr. The Visit of Little Death). With humour and melancholy, the typical cocktail of her books, the author describes the loneliness of Little Death, who meets sadness and rejection, whenever he meets a human being. But, little Elisewin offers him friendship, which changes his view with respect to his own role. In »Scritch scratch dip clapote!« (2002; tr. Scritch scratch dip splash) Crowther writes about a child’s fear of the dark, which has to be overcome. One of her favourite subjects is the individual’s way out of isolation and into a community. This is the theme of »Annie du lac« (2010; tr. Annie of the Lake), which describes the journey of Annie and three giants to the sea.
Kitty Crowther has received several national and international awards. She lives near Brussels with her two sons.
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