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Felicity Marshall

Author, Illustrator

Felicity is an author and illustrator of children’s picture books, as well as an accomplished painter. She believes in a holistic approach to art, and its role in all forms as both expression and therapy. She also believes that the process of creating art is as important as the end result.

Where were you born?

I was born in Perth, Western Australia and went to a country primary school there. I also went to school in Yorkshire, England (where my mother comes from) and in Boston, USA when my father was studying at Harvard University on a journalism fellowship. The best thing about England was riding ponies and meeting gypsies and the best thing about America was peanut butter cups! I went to a private girls’ school in Perth, and then on to Perth Tech art school and then Curtin University – both of which I loved.

I grew up in a family of writers, horsey people, pets, and inventions. Living in the country there was always time to share a ‘yarn’ with neighbours and exchange of long-winded stories was something that happened on a daily basis. I still love it.

Which books might we have seen of yours?

You and Me, Murrawee (Penguin, 2000) which I illustrated; Sage’s Ark (Fremantle Press, 2001) and The Star (Ford Street, 2010) both of which I am the author and illustrator. I have also been exhibiting paintings for more than 30 years.

What themes are recurring in your work?

My stories combine topical themes with imaginary events and a little magic. My characters are often searching through difficulties for personal identity, and I always have a humorous side to my stories – often an animal character. My books are aimed at upper primary age groups, but are also enjoyed by older children.

My Russian, Viennese and French ballet teachers taught me how to express my feelings and showed me a lot about life outside Australia. They also showed me that the theatre is a place where almost all the arts come together – music, dance, painting, sculpture, writing, costume, and lighting.

What have been some highlights of your career?

Getting published! Having my artwork admired and collected by Steve Martin (he has artworks by Chagall and many famous artists in his collection!). Exhibiting in London and France. And, having been shortlisted for the WA Premier’s Book Awards, the Cybil Awards (USA) and the Crichton Award for Illustration.

What other jobs have you had?

I have worked in film production and post-production (for seventeen years), I have been a ballet dancer, performed in children’s pantomimes, taught in art school, at CAE, and in schools, been a library assistant, and worked in galleries. I have also traveled and lived in USA, Canada, UK and France (yes, I speak French!).

What are you passionate about?

Art being important in everyone’s lives. Loving and protecting our bush, our beaches and all our natural environment. The importance and pleasure of the best possible nutrition and the most exciting food. Listening to stories from neighbours, friends, acquaintances – anyone really who has a tale to tell. Listening to kids’ versions of the world.

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