P. J. Lynch

Patrick James Lynch (born 2 March 1962), known professionally as P. J. Lynch, is an Irish artist and illustrator of children's books. He won both the 1995 and 1997 Kate Greenaway Medals from the British Library Association, recognising the year's best children's book illustration by a British subject.[1][2]


Early Years

Born in Belfast, Lynch was the youngest of five children.[3] He was interested in art from an early age, often choosing to spend his free periods during school in the art department.[4] He recalls that Belfast in the 1970s was a "scary" place for a teenager, and he used drawing and reading as a "way of escaping for a while from the horrors that were happening around me in the real world."[5] He attended the Brighton College of Art and departed in 1984 to begin working on children's books.[4]

Book Illustrations

Lynch's first illustrated book was A Bag of Moonshine by Alan Garner (1986), a collection of folklore tales from England and Wales. For that work he won the Mother Goose Award,[6] given to the "most exciting newcomer to British children's book illustration".[7] Since then folklore—traditional stories, legends, and fairy tales—has been a recurring subject of his work.[8]

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski, published by Walker Books in 1995, tells the story of a gloomy woodcutter who gradually recovers his ability to find joy in life. It proved to be very popular, with sales in the United States exceeding one million copies.[9] Lynch's illustrations were lauded for their "exceptional range of texture and colour",[10] and earned him both the Kate Greenaway Medal[1] and the Christopher Medal. James Earl Jones recorded a Grammy-nominated reading[11] and a movie based on the book was released in 2007.[12] Jonathan Toomey is Lynch's work most widely held by WorldCat participating libraries.[13]

He won his second Greenaway Medal two years later for illustrating When Jessie Came Across the Sea by Amy Hest (1997).[2] No one has won three.

Other media

Lynch has created posters for both Opera Ireland[14] and the Abbey Theatre.[15] He has illustrated four sets of Christmas stamps for An Post, as well as other individual stamps. The stamps he has designed have been acclaimed for their "level of detail, mood and emotion", which give them "a vivid life of their own."[16]

In 2006 Lynch completed work on two large scale murals in oils on the theme of Gulliver's Travels for the new Cavan County Library.

Personal life

Lynch and his wife Barbara were married in 2002 on his fortieth birthday. As of 2007 they live in Dublin with their two sons and daughter.[1]

Published works

Lynch has illustrated more than 20 books.[13]

He was one of many illustrators who contributed to An ABC Picture Gallery, a collaborative alphabet book written by the Dyslexia Institute staff (Oxford: Butterworth–Heinemann, 1999; ISBN 9780434804726) — "a full page illustration for each letter of the alphabet from some of the illustrators of today" with text insights about their work.[17]


  1. 1 2 3 4 (Greenaway Winner 1995). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  2. 1 2 3 (Greenaway Winner 1997). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2012-07-15.
  3. . Hodder Children's Books. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  4. 1 2 [Audio file]. Robert Dunbar Audio Archive. Retrieved 2008-09-12.
  5. . Walker. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  6. 1 2 . Books for Keeps. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  7. . Institute of Education. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  8. . Through the Magic Door. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  9. . The Sunday Independent. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  10. . Books For Keeps. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  11. . Candlewick Press. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  12. . The Trades. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  13. 1 2 "Lynch, Patrick James". WorldCat. Retrieved 2012-09-03.
  14. . Illustrators Ireland. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
  15. . Illustrators Ireland. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  16. [PDF document]. Irish Stamps. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  17.  by Doug Wood Hardcover. "No One But You: Amazon.co.uk: Doug Wood, P. J. Lynch: 9781406333534: Books". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2015-06-10.
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