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Freya Blackwood

Born: Edinburgh

Current Home: Wellington, New Zealand

Before Freya Blackwood started working full-time as an illustrator, she worked in the film industry. For the Weta Workshop in New Zealand, she was a production assistant and a manager for their collectibles business. She also did general photographic work for the studio. Previous to that, she worked on the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as a Prosthetic Effects Technician.

Blackwood has won a number of honors for her children's books. She was a Crichton Winner (an award administered by the Children's Book Council of Australia) for Two Summers. The book was also shortlisted for the 2004 Picture Book of the Year Award. Emily's Rapunzal Hair was also shortlisted for Book Council's Early Childhood Award.

Blackwood was delighted to be asked to illustrate Half a World Away, written by Libby Gleeson. "Libby Gleeson is an Australian writer of children's novels and picture books to whom I paid great attention," she says, "as I LOVE all her picture books. I was terribly impressed by the remarkable author/illustrator relationship she seemed to have with illustrator Armin Greder. I think one of their books was among the first I saw that convinced me that I wanted to be an illustrator! Half a World Away was the first text I had been given to consider that gave me a nostalgic feeling of familiarity and sadness. It seemed perfect and I literally felt my heart give a skip when I read about Amy waking and remembering her dream about Louie calling to her."

With her interest in filmaking, Blackwood will see the release of her first feature film in 2007. She would also love to see her work turned into an animated movie, "but that is a long-term goal." she says.

Freya Blackwood lives with her family in Wellington, New Zealand.