Olivia Lomenech Gill to illustrate Jessie Burton’s YA novel

Olivia Lomenech Gill to illustrate Jessie Burton’s YA novel

Olivia Lomenech Gill will illustrate Jessie Burton’s upcoming YA novel, Medusa, Bloomsbury Children’s Books has announced as it reveals the first three images.

Bloomsbury Children’s Books (BCB) creative director Stephanie Amster bought world rights in all languages from the artist’s agent, Alison Eldred. 

Publishing on 25th February 2021, Medusa is a “lyrical and feminist first-person retelling of the Greek myth which illuminates the fierce, vulnerable, determined young girl behind the legend – a story that will resonate deeply with 21st-century readers in the #MeToo age,” reads the synopsis. The story will be reimagined in a full-colour hardback edition. 

Lomenech Gill, who also illustrated  J K Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and has also been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, uses a variety of materials and medias to create her artwork. BCB said Lomenech Gill “has captured the atmosphere and spirit of Burton’s wonderful text with watercolour, charcoal, and pencil.” 

Lomenech Gill said: “I have loved the challenge of illustrating the “real” story of a mythical character, bridging both the historical and the contemporary. In classic Greek and later Renaissance art, depictions of Medusa vary from utterly monstrous to just a really bad hairdo, but she never comes across well, and never, in my view, comes close to being either beautiful, real or relatable. In Jessie’s text, Medusa immediately comes to life as a real person, an adolescent, whose experiences actually reflect in many ways the experience of many millions of women, or girls, around the world.”

Amster added: “There was only one artist for this wonderful text. We knew that Olivia would be able to transport the reader to the hot Mediterranean with its clear cool oceans, which can turn from calm to stormy in an instant. Her Medusa is authentic, innocent, vulnerable and – finally – empowered. Olivia’s work is organic and spontaneous, which makes it look as though she painted and drew it straight on to the pages of the book. I am thrilled to be working with such a talented artist.”