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Emma Quay (pronounced "kway") grew up in a village near Cambridge, England and has wanted to illustrate children's books for as long as she can remember. She drew voraciously as a child, and eventually graduated with an Honours degree in Graphic Design from Newcastle upon Tyne Polytechnic, specialising in illustration and printmaking.
Shortly after leaving college a selection of Emma's illustrative work was purchased by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London for its permanent collection of prints and drawings. She continued to exhibit her monoprints and charcoal sketches, travelling to Morocco, India, Nepal and Bhutan to sketch, whilst also working as a freelance illustrator.
Since moving to Sydney in 1993, Emma has illustrated a wide range of children's picture books, four of which have been short listed for the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year Awards: Bear and Chook and Daddy's Having a Horse (written by Lisa Shanahan) and Baby Bedtime by Mem Fox. Bear and Chook by the Sea was the winner of the CBCA Book of the Year award, Early Childhood, in 2010. Emma's collaboration with writer Meredith Hooper produced two CBCA Notable Books: the popular Thank You for My Yukky Present and Emily and Alfie, a picture book set in Antarctica and starring two young emperor penguin chicks, which also received a Whitley Award from the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales.
In 1996, the bestselling early childhood picture book, Good Night, Me— a collaboration with writer Andrew Daddo—was selected as the National Simultaneous Storytime book, when the book was read to over 40,000 children all over Australia. Emma's second collaboration with Andrew, Cheeky Monkey, depicts a family waking up and getting ready for their day–full of warmth, role play, games and silly names. Cheeky Monkey was selected by Early Childhood Australia as one of its Best Picture Books of the Year for 2008.
Almost all of Emma's picture book titles have been published in Korea, and in mid 2005 she toured South Korea, speaking to schoolchildren in Seoul and meeting with illustration students and professionals on Nami Island where she conducted seminars and workshops.
Click here for Korean language information leaflet (PDF 441Kbyte).
Emma has also teamed with author Lisa Shanahan to visit schools, conferences and festivals in Australia, where they have enjoyed presenting their work together.
Emma has written six books for very young children: the Friends for Keeps series, illustrated by Anna Walker. The series won the Best Designed Children's Series category of the 2010 Annual APA Book Design Awards, and has now been published in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, China, the US and Canada (Hello, Friends), the UK and Ireland (Friends are Forever).
Emma both wrote and illustrated Shrieking Violet, a picture book about a very head-strong little girl, her big sister and their mother. Emma used brush and ink, acrylic paints, Photoshop and some of her daughters' pre-school art for the illustrations. Shrieking Violet was shortlisted in the 2011 NSW Premier's Literary Awards, and the 2011 Children’s Peace Literature Awards.
Emma's bestselling bathtime picture book for very young children, Rudie Nudie, is now available in hard cover, board book, boxed set with rubber duck, paperback and iBook formats. Rudie Nudie won the 2012 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year for Younger Children and was also shortlisted in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards.
Emma's brand-new picture book, Scarlett, Starlett—about a little girl who loves to dance—is published this year.
Emma lives in Sydney with her Australian husband and their two daughters, and works from a studio in her home. She regularly posts updates from the studio on her Facebook page, Emma Quay Books and on Instagram too, at emma_quay_books.
Click here to download the PDF reader.