World Fantasy Convention 2013 has announced that Academy Award and World Fantasy Award-winning illustrator Alan Lee will be the Artist Guest of Honour in Brighton.

Alan Lee began his career working as a commercial artist, contributing work to dozens of paperback book covers, including reissues of The Fontana Book of Great Ghost Stories edited by Robert Aickman and R. Chetwynd-Hayes. After moving in the mid-1970s to a small village on the edge of Dartmoor, in Devon, he shared a studio with Brian Froud and together they created the groundbreaking illustrated book Faeries.

The success of this picture book gave the artist the freedom to spend several years bringing the Celtic myth of The Mabinogion to life, and he went on to create the delicate watercolour illustrations for Castles by David Day, Michael Palin’s The Mirrorstone (in collaboration with Richard Seymour), The Moon’s Revenge by Joan Aiken and Merlin Dreams by Peter Dickinson, along with numerous book cover designs.

However, Alan Lee is best known for his association with perhaps the greatest fantasy author of all time, illustrating the 1,200-page centenary edition of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Artist and author soon became inextricably linked through such collaborations as Tolkien’s World: Paintings of Middle-Earth, the 1993 J.R.R. Tolkien Calendar (and many subsequent editions), Realms of Tolkien: Images of Middle-Earth, a new edition of The Hobbit, The Children of Húrin, Tales from the Perilous Realm and David Day’s non-fiction study Tolkien’s Ring.

The artist’s work for Rosemary Sutcliff’s Black Ships Before Troy received the prestigious Kate Greenaway Award in 1993 for distinguished work in the illustration of children’s books in the UK. In 1998 he won the World Fantasy Award for Best Artist.

Alan Lee has also enjoyed an equally successful career as a conceptual designer for movies, and his credits include Legend, Erik the Viking, the Jane Yolen-scripted Merlin and the Dragons, the 2005 King Kong and the 1998 TV mini-series Merlin.

Director Peter Jackson contacted the artist to work on his acclaimed cinematic trilogy of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. After being nominated for The Two Towers the year before, in 2004 Alan Lee won an Oscar for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration for his work on The Return of the King. The artist is currently based in New Zealand, where he is working again with Jackson on the eagerly-anticipated prequels The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Hobbit: There and Back Again.

“I’m very flattered to be asked to be Artist Guest of Honor,” says Alan Lee, “and happy to accept the invitation. I’m meant to be finishing on The Hobbit movies some time this year. My work on the The Lord of the Rings films went on for six years beyond what I was originally anticipating, but even if I am still involved I can arrange my annual trip back to England to coincide with the convention. I look forward to seeing everyone in 2013!”

Alan Lee joins previously announced Author Guests of Honour Richard Matheson and Richard Christian Matheson, along with Master of Ceremonies China Miéville, in the picturesque and vibrant seaside town of Brighton, on the south coast of England, over the weekend of October 31 – November 3, 2013.

Other authors, editors, agents and artists already registered include Joe Abercrombie, John Joseph Adams, Peter Atkins, Ben Baldwin, James Barclay, Simon Bestwick, Joshua Bilmes, Holly Black, James P. Blaylock, Ginjer Buchanan, Pat Cadigan, Ramsey Campbell, Ted Chiang, Vincent Chong, Donna Condon, John Peyton Cooke, Paul Cornell, Peter Crowther, Benoit Domis, John R. Douglas, Hal Duncan, Alistair Durie, Les Edwards, Jo Fletcher, Stephen Gallagher, Mark Gascoigne, Barry Goldblatt, Christopher Golden, Jon Courtenay Grimwood, Liza Groen Trombi, Karen Haber, Joe Haldeman, Lee Harris, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Robert Hood, John Jerrold, Stephen Jones, S.T. Joshi, Michael Kelly, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jay Lake, Samantha Lee, Tim Lebbon, Alison Littlewood, Karen Lord, Brian Lumley, Len Maynard, Farah Mendlesohn, James Minz, Thomas Monteleone, Howard Morhaim, Mark Morris, Lisa Morton, Kim Newman, Stan Nicholls, Garth Nix, Jana Oliver, Jonathan Oliver, Reggie Oliver, Rosalie Parker, Sarah Pinborough, Charles Preploec, John L. Probert, Tina Rath, Lynda E. Rucker, R.B. Russell, Mark Samuels, Darrell Schweitzer, John Silbersack, Robert Silverberg, Mick Sims, Angela Slatter, Michael Marshall Smith, Cat Sparks, S.M. Stirling, Simon Strantzas, Steve Upham, Gordon Van Gelder, Mark Van Name, F. Paul Wilson, Stephen Woodworth and Rio Youers and many others . . .

Additional information can be found on the World Fantasy Convention 2012 website.

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