Interviewed by Sue Leonard.
Published in the Irish Examiner on 10th August, 2013.
Beginner’s Pluck Yasmeen Ismail.
As a child living in Skerries, County Dublin, Ismail’s passion for well illustrated children’s books began.
“I especially loved Roald Dahl, and the illustrations of Quentin Blake,” she says.
Her interest in art was encouraged in school, where the facilities were second to none. After art college, Ismail worked in shoe shops and pubs in Dublin; then she travelled for three months and ended up in London.
“I worked in animation, and started a company with a friend. We ran that for four years, then we decided to do other things.”
Ismail pursued her dream, and become a writer illustrator. She worked, really hard, on her portfolio; she entered competitions, acquired and left one agent, and found another. And the work paid off. She has signed book deals with three major publishers.
Who is Yasmeen Ismail?
Date of birth:1981, in County Louth.
Education: Alexandra College; Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology, (animation.)
Home: Camden, London.
Family: Husband, Alasdair, and a cat. “Also my sister Nadia, and her three children, Kai, Ayeishah and Lila.”
The Day Job: Full time writer and illustrator.
Interests: Yoga, reading, visiting the countryside and travel. “I love the British Museum, and I’m a member of Tate Modern.”
Favourite Writers: Zadie Smith; Jon Ronson; Iain Banks; JK Rowling.
Second Novel: “I have one coming out with Random House; one with Nosy Crow; and one with Blue Apple Books in the states. I’m working on my second one for Bloomsbury.”
Top Writing Tip: Read anything and everything.
Web: www.yasmeenismail.co.uk Twitter: @YasmeenMay
The Debut: Time for Bed, Fred! Bloomsbury: €8.09 Kindle: €5.92
Meet Fred. He’s a boisterous fun loving dog, who is full of mischief. It’s time for bed, but will Fred go? You bet he won’t! He hides up trees; he rolls in muddy puddles and disappears behind bookshelves. A book that any young child can relate to, with quite wonderful artwork.
The Verdict: An irresistible picture book for young children, reminiscent of Dogger, and Mog the Forgetful Cat.
© Sue Leonard. 2013.