Bristol schoolgirl ‘gobsmacked’ by bestselling author’s praise
Ella Rehin drew a comic strip about Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, ‘gobsmacked’ by reply
A Bristol schoolgirl who drew a comic strip about her favourite author was stunned and is now considering a career in illustration after receiving a reply from the bestselling novelist.
Ella Rehin, from Montpelier, sketched a biography of Mark Haddon, best known for his children’s book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night, for a school English project.
Her teacher was so impressed with the artwork that she sent it to the author.
But the 15-year-old was “gobsmacked” when Haddon – whose books have sold two million copies worldwide – sent a letter back, saying her comic strip was “brilliantly drawn and very funny”.
He added Ella’s work, which contains 12 individual colour pictures, including one of Haddon with his wife and children, was “by some margin one of the best letters I have ever received”.
Haddon, who has two sons, Zack and Alfie, was also a good sport about the size of his comic book nose, adding: “Zack, nine, was troubled by the size of my nose but very taken with his younger self sitting on the sofa.”
The A4 artwork is now hanging on his dressing room wall at the Gielgud Theatre in London’s West End, where a stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time opened on June 24.
Ella, who attends Bristol Steiner School, said: “We were asked to write or draw a biography of our favourite author, and I chose Mark Haddon because I absolutely loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time.
“I knew that my teacher had sent it to Mr Haddon, but I was still gobsmacked when he replied. Thankfully he really liked it, too!”
Ella is now considering a university degree in illustration. She also hopes to enter next year’s Vintage Graphic Short Story Prize – on Haddon’s recommendation.