By Jack Holmes
The Manchester Children’s Book Festival were delighted to welcome the incredibly talented Laura Ellen Anderson to this year’s Family Fun Day as part of Manchester Phoenix Fest.
Laura has been working in the industry for six years since graduating from Falmouth University back in 2010. In this short time, she has created an impressive back catalogue of both comic books and fiction. They include the incredibly popular My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord, The Secret Pirate, Witch Watch and her “baby”, The Evil Emperor Penguin series.
Evil Emperor Penguin is the title she discusses for most of her Family Fun Day workshop. It is currently included monthly in ‘The Phoenix’ British comic book, which targets young readers and tries to get them involved in the world of literature, through a variety of genres, stories and characters.
Each issue features various stories from a number of writers and artists and have been praised for their work getting children started reading, with Anderson specifically pointing out “the great feedback we receive, especially in helping dyslexic kids break into literature”. “They [Phoenix] get involved with a lot of literature festivals, they used to be just Oxford but it sort of spread, we have Edinburgh coming up next week”.
“When I was a teenager I wanted to do anything but art,” she laughs. The audience today seem very glad that she eventually came to her sentence.
She brings with her some of her old work to show “how the characters have developed through the years”, from the side kicks to the stars, as well as teaching the audience about the ways her characters project their personalities through the way they look. Props to her she does so while dressed as the Emperor Penguin in question as well!
We’re glad to hear she enjoyed herself too!
The Manchester Children’s Book Festival runs from 24th June – 3rd July. Download the 2016 brochure for information on upcoming events.