“Ugly” illustrations help the author’s career take off
Author and illustrator Sami Bayly can thank the humble “bin chicken” for his first break into the world of publishing.
Former Newcastle University Bachelor of Natural History Illustration honors the student, set to return to her chosen ground later this month for the 2022 Write here! Festival in Lake Macquarie, received a call from a children’s book publisher in 2018 after writing a portrait of the much-maligned Australian white ibis in an art competition.
“During my third year of college, I found myself inspired by the more unusual or ‘ugly’ animals in life, wanting to draw weirder-looking creatures instead of ones that were ‘beautiful’ or cute,'” Bayly said.
What followed was The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ugly Animals! a compendium of 60 of the world’s most unusual animals, exploring their appearance, habitat, diet and conservation status.
The book’s incredibly detailed watercolor illustrations have won Bayly a host of awards, including 2020 Independent Children’s Book of the Year, and paved the way for two other non-fiction publications.
The 26-year-old is one of 30 accomplished authors who will present at this year’s Write Here festival.
The event will take place at the Belmont Library, Toronto Library and Warners Bay Theater from March 18-20.
Bayly will preview her writing and illustration techniques at a talk at the Toronto Library on Saturday, March 19, before hosting a children’s story and illustration session at Warners Bay Theater the following day. .
She will also join fellow authors Sandie Docker, Chris Hammer, Fiona McArthur and Tobias Madden on Saturday night, offering a preview of their new and unreleased works.
“I hope children and adults who watch or participate in my sessions learn that nature is amazing and there is an endless amount of facts to learn about it,” Bayly said.
“It’s so important that we instill love for the planet in future generations, because right now we need to take care of it more than ever.”
This year write here! also has a Afternoon Crime and Thrillers at the Warners Bay Theatre, featuring authors Chris Hammer, Barry Maitland and Walkley Prize winner Jane Caro.
The $25 admission includes conversation sessions with all three authors, plus a drink and snacks. Tickets for each of the three individual sessions are $8.
Fiction and memoir-writing workshops, author talks and a screening of Dead Poet’s Society at the Rathmines Theater are among the other highlights of a jam-packed three-day program.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser praised the diversity of talent secured for the weekend.
“In just a few years, Write Here! has established itself as one of the premier literary events in the NSW region,” she said.
“Not just for budding authors and illustrators, but for anyone who loves books and reading.”
Reservations for each session are essential. Costs range from entry in gold coins to $40 for some workshops.
Visit library.lakemac.com.au or phone 4921 0400 for more information and to book.
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