In late 2008 I began creating the illustrations for The Wonky Donkey in a converted stable in New Zealand, where I was living at the time.
It was very nerve-wracking as Wonky was actually my first ever book, published in October 2009.
By December of the same year Wonky had gone for a record 7 reprints and become a number one bestseller in both Australia and New Zealand; completely unexpected and incredibly exciting, especially for a first book!
Wonky went on to win the acclaimed NZ Post Children’s Choice award in March of 2010, among other awards and nominations…this was a dream come true!
Wonky was more of a runaway success than I ever could have dreamed or imagined and his strength of spirit has always shone through!
After unexpectedly returning to the UK, it was sad not finding Wonky on the bookshop shelves there, where he was supposed to be…
Until a completely unexpected and magical thing happened to change everything in Wonky’s world…
On August 30th 2018, a friend tagged me in a video that changed my life.
It was an infectiously giggling Scottish Granny, reading The Wonky Donkey to her grandchild, in unstoppable fits of laughter that within less than a week had rippled around the world and had millions of views…!
This video and The Scottish Granny, with her lovable ways and feel good laughter, transformed Wonky into an overnight, internet sensation had set in motion a huge, sudden surge of interest in Wonky all over the world!
As a result, the book finally became officially available and warmly welcomed in the UK and beyond too, in a growing list of countries including USA, China, South Africa, Italy, Portugal, Poland…and the home of donkeys, Albania!
Watch the video here
The Guardian article:
“…Cowley said that while The Wonky Donkey has been a household name in Australia and New Zealand since it was first published in 2009, the book had been only “an underground success” in the UK.
“I am so glad that Wonky’s reputation has finally come to bite him on the bum on this side of the world thanks to ‘Wonky’s Guardian Granny’. I couldn’t be more delighted,” Cowley said, calling Clark “a reminder in life, when all else fails, to fall about laughing. She has a spirit like Wonky’s.”
Wonky’s strong spirit proves that whatever challenges you have in life, nothing needs to stand between you and success, and I am proud to call him my firstborn in bookly birthings and as is the case with all characters (and children too!)…once they are born, they begin to grow a life and develop a spirit of their own and inspire their parents!
SILVER AWARD 2019 Neilsen’s Book awards for sales over 250,000 for The Wonky Donkey
WINNER 2010 Nielsen Booksellers’ Choice Award
WINNER 2010 NZ Post Children’s Choice Award
Finalist 2010 NZ Post Picture Book category
WINNER 2010 Book Retailers Choice Of The Year
Finalist 2010 LIANZA Russell Clark Award for Illustration
Finalist 2011 PANZ Book Design Awards
For more information on The Wonky Donkey, please visit: www.wonkydonkeybook.com