Tony Ross: ‘I wasn’t at all like Horrid Henry when I was a boy’

The author and illustrator, 83, on working with Roald Dahl, his three happy marriages, feeling sorry for optimists and being brought up in the Blitz

I was born in London in 1938. Then the bombing started and my parents rushed away up north, so I was brought up in Cheshire, knowing how to hold a rifle. If I could go back in time, I’d go back to Runcorn, to be with my father and mother in that house at the end of the war, when there were airmen and soldiers and Land Girls around the dining table.

My father was a conjuror in the Magic Circle – an extraordinary man. I grew up with the idea that you could do fun and extraordinary things for a living because of him. My mother was just a damn good mother. That was something you could be in those days. I adored her.

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