Apr 07, 2021
TISH has arrived! Thrilled to be able to welcome this new junior fiction novel into the world.
This story was inspired by an article in the New York Magazine that my incredible publisher, Nancy Conescu, sent me. The article made a shocking prediction based on recent evidence that imaginary friends might be the next extinction as there had been a dramatic decrease in recent years of their incidence due to a range of reasons including the rise of technology and parents’ inability or fear of letting their children experience boredom. No longer are children being given the space and freedom to let their minds wander.
This was devastating and chilling to read, since imaginary friends are a historic childhood staple and universal phenomenon that is so crucial for development. Nancy encouraged me to explore this theme of imaginary friends and so I asked myself, what would happen if imaginary friends became extinct?
My first attempt at writing this story had a dystopian setting with a sprawling range of imaginary oddballs and children who were too busy playing on their screens to notice them. But I wasn’t enjoying writing it – it felt too didactic. Then I asked myself, what if there was just one. The last of its kind? And then Tish arrived on the page. Enormous and smelly. Hungry and hairy. Rumbly and clumsy. Sweet, vulnerable and trusting. Perfect with a capital P.
From then on, Tish captured my imagination and wouldn’t leave my side until he was set free on the page and given an imagination of his own. I am so eternally grateful that Nancy pointed me towards this path and paired me up with the brilliantly talented illustrator, Odette Barberousse.
That we could – all four of us – rumble down this road together.
This is the exquisite tale of an imaginary friend, desperate to be loved and the children whose beliefs make him real – at least for now.
CBCA Honour Award-winning author Edwina Wyatt has created a heart-warming story of friendship, longing and courage. Once you know Tish, you won’t ever forget him.