Dave Shelton

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Dave Shelton

Unlike the pupils at St Rita’s School for Spirited Girls, Dave Shelton was a boringly well-behaved, rather quiet boy during his school days in Leicester. He worked quite hard and did quite well in most subjects (apart from PE and geography.) He loved to read comics and to draw. He still does.

Nowadays Dave lives in Cambridge with a woman (Pam), a girl (Mila), a bonkers dog (Wilma) and a cat (don't ask). He likes cake, cricket, crosswords and talking to cartoonists about pens. He’s a bit better at sport now. He is still useless at geography.


Interviewed 18 August 2018

Ten words to sum up your working life to date ...

Slow, bumbling, poorly planned, largely accidental, lucky, unexpected, pleasantly surprising.

Nine things you can see from where you're sitting ...

An ironing board; a print by John Minton; a railway lamp (a gift from Jeremy de Quidt after I designed the cover for his book The Wrong Train); a box containing the original illustrations for my first children’s novel A Boy and a Bear in a Boat; a self-portrait by my step daughter; a printout of the plot for my next book; a puppet of me made by my wife as a birthday present; a toy ice cream van; our dog, Barney.

Eight minutes to prepare a meal. What's it going to be ?

Hmm … not quite long enough for a fish finger sandwich so … scrambled eggs on toast should be just about doable I think.

Seven people you'd like to go for a drink with ...

I’d love to have a chat with the wonderful radio writer John Finnemore, because he seems very clever and funny; likewise the comedian Robin Ince; A L Kennedy, because she’s one of my favourite writers (and we have the same German translator); Mark Hollis who used to be in the band Talk Talk, partly just to ask him what he does these days; the Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson, because I’d like to talk to him about pens; Adam Buxton, because I like listening to his podcast (and we could talk about dogs); Tim Harford, who presents the radio show More Or Less (about numbers) on Radio 4.

Six things you can't live without ...

Tea, pens, Radio 4, books, love, fish finger sandwiches.

Five favourite words ...

Plethora, plinth, heft, quibble, lurch.

Four places you'd run away to ...

Cromer, St David’s, Inverness, and just outside of Swindon (because my mate Tim lives there).

Three books you've bought recently ...

I haven’t bought much for a while because I’m still working my way through the masses of books I got for Christmas. But I did pick up a couple of good finds on a market stall recently: Elizabeth David’s Mediterranean Cooking (illustrated by John Minton) and The Fireside Book of Folk Songs (illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen). And I borrowed The Herring in the Library by LC Tyler from my local library.

Two things that make you rant ...

Politicians who say “oh, I’m afraid I’m a bit useless at maths” and shrug and grin as if that’s endearing rather than a confession that they lack a pretty essential skill for their job. Astrology.

One thing you'd tell your teenage self ...

You’ll be fine.