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Interview 4 with Gail E. Haley

Haley, Gail E. (4)
Wright, Christina
Date of Interview: 
Haley, Gail E.; Great Britain. Royal Mail; Victoria and Albert Museum; Weston Woods Studios; Cats in literature; Children's literature; Costume design; Gouache painting; Illustrations; Kate Greenaway Medal; Working cats; Interviews (Sound recordings); Oral histories
Gail Haley, an author and illustrator of children’s literature born in Charlotte, N.C., recounts her continuing career. In this fourth of sixteen interviews, Ms. Haley discusses The Post Office Cat (1976), which was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration. Ms. Haley describes how a news story concerning parliamentary debates over wage increases for post office cats inspired her to research the history of cats at the Royal Mail and ultimately to write the book. She also recalls several stories about her own cat, Clarence, who served as the model and inspiration for her illustrations. In addition, Ms. Haley details the techniques utilized in creating illustrations which imitated the style of lithography through printing technique and washing in colors using gouache and soapy water with a focus on tonal color in order to create depth. As an author who focuses on costume and performance, Ms. Haley emphasizes the details depicted in the costumes of her characters, which she primarily researched at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Later, she recalls working on her practical guide for costume creation, Costumes for Plays and Playing (1977). Ms. Haley also sets the stage for her sixth interview which discusses her illustrated book, The Green Man (1979). Other themes in this interview include her continued work with Weston Wood Studios, publishing her works in Japan, the history of mail delivery in the United Kingdom, class, and her relationship with her mother.
England--London; circa 1970s - 2006
Interview Setting: 
Charlotte, N.C.
Interviews with Gail E. Haley
Interview Audio: