Kelly Canby shares The Hole Story with Fremantle Press


Kelly Canby. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d481021
Kelly Canby. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d481021

PERTH writer and illustrator Kelly Canby’s brain is wired for words and pictures, which is fortunate because she is terrible at maths.

“Drawing was one of the first things I remember doing as a child and I would spend hours doing it,” Canby said.

“I would go into my own little world and with the pictures came stories. I studied design and majored in illustration at Curtin University and after graduating I worked for many years as a graphic designer.

“I loved design but my work always had a strong illustrative feel; that was the way I was being pulled. So after my son was born in 2010, I decided to really focus on my illustration work and just like when I was young, with the pictures came the stories.”

Canby is an internationally published illustrator and author of more than a dozen titles, from picture books and colouring books to chapter books and early readers.

Her latest picture book, The Hole Story, was released in March through Fremantle Press and is her first book with the publisher.

It follows the story of a boy called Charlie who finds a hole, picks it up and puts it in his pocket while he looks for someone who might need it.

The Hole Story comes after Canby’s first picture book All the Lost Things in 2013, which is about a young girl who discovers a manhole in a busy street and decides to climb in and explore.

“I was brainstorming ideas for a new story but my mind kept coming back to this manhole, or hole in the ground, and I felt like there was another story to be told there,” she said.

“Being a visual thinker, I closed my eyes and pictured this hole while asking myself my favourite problem solving question, which is ‘What if?’ What if you could pick up the hole? What if the hole was something you could hold, and carry and take places?’. The story grew from there.

“I don’t think I’ll write anymore stories about holes, I feel like I might be done with that theme, but never say never.”

Canby said she worked at her home studio from the time she dropped her son at school until the time she picked him up.

“While the stories I write tend to be more concept-based than location-based, I feel very much inspired by where I live,” she said.

“An hour sitting under a tree at City Beach can get my head buzzing with ideas.”