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KU graduate nominated for Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize

By River Reporter Mar 7, 2013

A KU graduate and author has been nominated for a top children’s book prize, despite being dyslexic.

Harriet Westcott

Frann Preston-Gannon, who studied illustration and animation at Kingston University, has had her first children’s book, The Journey Home, nominated for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize.

Becoming a children’s author and illustrator came very naturally to her, regardless of her dyselxia.

Visual expression

Having struggled with the condition for most of her life she prefers to express herself through pictures rather than words.

She said: “I have always avoided having to write down anything if I could help it. I did think that I would follow illustration or at least a creative path.

“When I started working on my children’s book career I found I was coming up with lots of illustrations and ideas myself and the next logical step was to add words.”


Her story, published in October 2012, is about a polar bear who finds the ice around him is melting and therefore gets on a boat to sail across the ocean in search of food.

Those in her field saw potential in her ability from the very beginning. Illustration and animation principle lecturer Jake Abrams said she was “creative and proactive”.

He said: “Fran was a very diligent student producing a wide range of creative work. She was part of a close knit group of students that came from all over, all attracted to Kingston because of its strong reputation in this area and for its strong ethos and industrial links.”

Further books to follow

Ms Preston-Gannon feels like she’s just getting started and has plans to continue writing and illustrating her children’s books.

She said: “My second book has just reached shops and my third and fourth will be coming out in October 2013 and one with a US publisher in January 2014.

“I have around six other book ideas that I can’t wait to get started on.”

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