Many congratulations to Hastings resident and internationally famous cartoonist, caricaturist, illustrator and children’s writer, Sir Quentin Blake, who has been made a Companion of Honour in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Quentin Blake in his studio

This highly prestigious award recognises outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion, and the order is limited to only 65 Companions at any one time. Current Companions included Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney (another East Sussex resident), JK Rowling, and Dame Maggie Smith.

known around the globe

It is only the latest honour for Sir Quentin, who has illustrated more than 500 books including 18 written by Roald Dahl and for which he is perhaps best known.

While he is known and admired around the globe, Blake, who was born in 1932 and will be 90 in December, has also made his home in Hastings and has been very involved in supporting the Jerwood Gallery, now the Hastings Contemporary, which opened in 2012.

The Drawing Festival

He spoke to Your East Sussex in 2015 when he launched The Drawing Festival, a collaboration with the Jerwood. This came about out after he had lent his support to the Storytelling Festival run by the Hastings Old Town Residents Association. He became its patron and designed a logo before giving a talk at the gallery.

And he told us why he thinks his unique unmistakable style is so loved by children. “My illustrations are like something is happening. There is some sequence of time implied in them; an arm may be as much the description of a gesture as a depiction of anatomy. It’s a sort of little theatre.”

Home is Hastings

He also explained his love of Hastings. “I hope it won’t seem disrespectful to East Sussex if I say that, though I am very conscious of its beauties, my emotional attachment is to Romney Marsh. I have lived at one end or other, first in Hythe, and for many years now in Hastings. I think of ‘Hastings’ not ‘Sussex’. Hastings is after all something like a small country by itself. I can quite imagine it one day, in some kind of Passport to Pimlico situation, setting up on its own.”

All of us at Your East Sussex are sure that the town he loves so much could not be prouder of its famous resident than it is today. Having given so much joy to generations of children, its an accolade so very richly deserved.

Awards and prizes

Sir Quentin Saxby Blake CH CBE FCSD FRSL RDI has a long list of awards and prizes, of which these are just a few:

  • He won the biennial international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2002, the highest recognition available to creators of children’s books;
  • From 1999 to 2001 he was the inaugural British Children’s Laureate;
  • His books have won numerous prizes and awards, including the Whitbread Award;
  • In 2004 he was awarded the ‘Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres’ by the French Government for services to literature and in 2007 he was made Officier in the same order. In 2014 he was admitted to the Legion d’Honneur, an honour accorded to few people who are not French nationals;
  • He was created CBE in 2005;
  • He received a knighthood for ‘services to illustration’ in the New Year’s Honours for 2013.

For more information about this remarkable man visit his official website