At 11.30, Graffeg author and acclaimed artist and illustrator Jackie Morris will be joining Zaffar Kunial and Tobias Jones to discuss the role of trees and woods in the creative process, and how they might help us achieve mental balance. Jackie’s forthcoming titles from Graffeg, The Ice Bear and Snow Leopard, both incorporate ideas of closer interaction and understanding between the natural world and our own lives.

A focus on nature and wildlife continues into the afternoon, as from 1pm Perfect collaborators Nicola Davies and Cathy Fisher will present a session of naturalism, art, and storytelling. Nicola will be introducing the audience to swifts–incredible birds that sleep and eat on the wing and never stop flying–including their calls, nesting behaviors and where to look out for them. Cathy will go on to draw a swift and provide insights on creating the beautiful artwork for Perfect, followed by a reading of the story itself.

For Nicola and Cathy, the swift is not only a remarkable bird to be observed, but became a means to explore themes of disability and acceptance. In Perfect, disheartened by the arrival of his new baby sister and the physical differences he perceives between them, a young boy continues to be mesmerisied by the flight of the swifts outside his window. Only when he takes an injured bird into his care is he able to realise that all his sister might need is the same little piece of help.

Nicola Davies

An award-winning children’s writer for over 20 years and a former zoologist, underlying all of Nicola’s work is a belief that a relationship with nature is essential to every human being, and that now, more than ever, we need to renew that relationship. Her other titles with Graffeg include the Shadows & Light series, and her new collaboration with Cathy Fisher, The Pond.

Cathy Fisher
Art is Cathy’s first language. As a child she scribbled on the walls of her bedroom and ever since has felt a sense of urgency to paint and draw stories which she believes need to be heard. Perfect was Cathy’s first published book, followed by The Pond.