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News > Alumnae News > Two alumnae launch their debut children’s book

Two alumnae launch their debut children’s book

Author Evelyn Crosskey (1989 leaver) in collaboration with illustrator Imogen Ives (2023 leaver) launch ‘The Guardians of the Wittenham Clumps’

We are thrilled to share news of the partnership between author Evelyn and emerging artist Imogen. ‘My partnership with Immy Ives came about through a chance conversation I had with my daughter, Anna. They are good friends, and Anna shared with Immy that I was writing a children’s book. Unbeknown to me, Immy had always wanted to illustrate one. She is such a talented artist and a joy to work with, so it all worked out beautifully’, commented Evelyn.

The book took ten years to publish, beginning as a verbal story that Evelyn told her children when they were young. Anna’s brothers are neurodiverse, and the story was a means to help them feel more confident about themselves, and a bit of escapism in the local landscape always helps. Inspiration came with the demolition of the first three cooling towers at Didcot Power station early one morning in July 2014, which shook their house in Long Wittenham, rattling the windows even though it was a few miles away.

Evelyn recalls, ‘The children wondered what may have been awakened with the loud bang? A few months later The Sylva Foundation rebuilt a Saxon meeting house in a field a few meters away from our house, using traditional methods. Having visited the magnificent House of Wessex, we researched the chief who ruled over Long Wittenham, called ‘Witta'.  Perhaps his ghost could have been awoken? Or perhaps his emblem, the Wessex Wyvern? Or both?’

‘It was the children who asked me to write the story down, which I did. I shared it with the little girls who live next door whose delight with it proved to me that there was a wider appeal for this adventure. It is for everyone aged eight years and over. I should mention that a few 80-year-olds have also told me how gripped they were with the plot!’ explained Evelyn.

The launch will be up on Wittenham Clumps on 30 March 2024, and perhaps both Witta and the Wyvern will put in an appearance. The promotional flyer provides more details about the book.

Following its launch, the book will be available in local independent bookshops (including Mostly Books in Abingdon) and village stores. They will also be running writing workshops at local schools and storytelling events in local libraries, with the visit to Abingdon Library planned for 3 April. The launch event is open to all, so please do join them if you are keen and in the local area.

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