Local award-winning children’s book illustrator Wallace Edwards passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 65.
The Yarker native earned the Governor-General’s award for his first book, Alphabeasts, his first of many literary awards he’d accumulate over his career. He would go on to write and illustrate 16 more books, his most recent being Do you Wonder?, published earlier this year by Scholastic. According to his website, he completed his final book Pigs Can’t Fly after receiving a diagnosis of terminal cancer in August. His final book is currently in press.
Over the years Edwards made several appearances at Lennox and Addington County Libraries and local schools, sharing his love of reading and writing with the younger generation.
His 2015 book Unnatural Selections was the subject of the L&A Libraries’ first Greater Big Family Read.
Along with a successful career as an author and illustrator, he had a distinguished career as an artist as well.
According to his website, his paintings can be found in private and public collections throughout the world and prior to his book life he had an extensive freelance career with the Metro Toronto Zoo, the City of Toronto, the B.C. Ministry of the Environment, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, the Canadian Wildlife Federation, and many magazines, including a long stretch with Ontario Out of Doors.
In 2014, Edwards was awarded a Canada Council-supported New Media Artist Residency at York University. He went on to create and exhibit work in augmented and virtual reality internationally and was a pioneering force in the development of visual language and techniques for future forms. He was also just beginning to create large-scale paintings in acrylic, signalling the next phase in his artistic journey.
“He was lover of the natural world, a keeper of obscure knowledge, a fan of wordplay, a surprisingly accomplished magician, a sparkling conversationalist, a mean guitar player, a compassionate and wise spirit and the funniest guy at the dinner table,” reads a post on his website www.WallaceEdwards.ca. “His friends and family knew he loved them.”
He leaves behind his partner of 25 years, Kate Freeman.