Sunday, April 23, 2006


This will be held at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London 24-25 June 2006. Keynote speakers Malorie Blackman and Trevor Philips. Contributing authors include Beverley Naidoo, Mary Hoffman, Bali Rai and Ken Wilson-Max with poetry from John Agard, workshops, panel discussions, exhibitions and a showcase event open to local families.

The conference is organised by the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education and is an initiative of the Arts Council. It is designed to raise the profile of the market opportunities for culturally diverse children's books and to explore future developments in this area.

The conference is aimed at professionals in the children's book world whether as publishers, writers, illustrators, booksellers, librarians and teachers.

Registration fee is £75 but there is (in the spirit of the ubiquitious 3 for the price of 2 offer in many bookshops) a 5 for 4 offer - band together and book 4 places for £300 and send 5 delegates.

Details and online registration visit


Ty Newydd is setting up a fund in memory of the life and work of Jan Mark. This will provide an annual bursary for a writer to attend the Writing for Children course at Ty Newydd. She was a regular tutor and guest reader from the very early years of the centre. When the centre faced closure because of lack of funds, Jan suggested and spearheaded an appeal whereby for a whole season writers tutored at Ty Newydd and donated their fees to the centre. Enough money was raised, the necessary renovation work took place and a new Ty Newydd opened in March 06. They say "they owe Jan a great deal".

Bursary recipients will be selected by a panel and will be unpublished but considered to have a writing talent that would benefit from such a course. They aim to raise £10,000 which will be invested and the interest generated will finance the annual bursary.

If you wish to contribute please either visit their website or email or send a cheque made out to Jan Mark Memorial Bursary Fund and sent to The Bursar, Ty Newydd, Llanysturndwy, Cricieth, Gwynedd LL52 OLW. Somewhat bizarrely they request the envelope is marked on the back "Jan Mark BF" - I think it would have raised an eyebrow or a pertinent comment from Jan.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


A day on finding inspiration, approaching publishers, working with an art director plus a creative workshop led by Jan Ormerod. Tales place on 6 May at London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, London SE1 6SB. Organised by SWBWI. Tickets for members £65, non-members £75, full-time students £30. Further details contact

Monday, April 10, 2006


This is a fairly shameless plug for the splendid reissue of The Giant under the Snow by John Gordon (Orion £9.99). But when a reissued book (it was first published in 1968) is published with such care and attention - do look at the endpapers and the chapter head illustrations by Gary Blythe - it is worth shouting about. John was interviewed by Chris Stephenson in the very first issue of Carousel and there will be a further interview with him in the next issue. So go to your nearest bookshop and ask to see a copy - lasts longer than an Easter egg!

Sunday, April 09, 2006


If you live in or near Newcastle upon Tyne or want a break in the journey to Scotland do go and see the latest exhibition at Seven Stories (30 Lime Street in the Ouseburn Valley Newcastle). "What's in the Book" celebrates the work of Janet and Allan Ahlberg and is, according to Jenny & David Blanch who went to a preview, a stunning exhibition. Open every day from 10am (from 11am on Sundays) - admission charges apply. Details

Mini Grey is appearing at Seven Stories in the Artists Attic on 24 April at 1.30pm. Her books have been enthusiastically received by Carousel since her first book appeared. An interview with Mini appeared in issue 24. Back copies of the magazine are available from Carousel tel 0121 622 7458

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Older readers may remember the delightful little rabbit Pookie, the hugely successful creation of Ivy L Wallace, in the 1940s and 50s. Born 1915 in Grimsby, she trained as an actress before turning her hand to fairy stories. On a visit to Wm. Collins Printers in Glasgow she met the director William Collins, married him and moved to Scotland. Ivy wrote many more books - the Animal shelf series, numerous stories for magazines and Christmas annuals but ceased writing on the death of her husband. An exhibition of her drawings was recently held in the Collins Gallery, Glasgow and she died at her home in Lanarkshire aged 90 in March 2006.

Val Bierman


Judith O'Neill was born in Melbourne, Australia, the great-granddaughter of William Lyall and Anne Battersby, both convicts transported to Van Dieman's Land (as Australia was known at that time). Her great-grandfather was a Scot and great-grandmother, Lancastrian, both sentenced for the petty crimes of stealing tools and items of clothing. Judith was the first member of the family to unearth this fascinating fact during her research for the numerous novels written on her return to Britain in the '60s. It was a source of pride to discover that both great-grandparents had risen to become pillars of Australian society - her great-grandfather as Mayor, with everyone being unaware of their background. Several fine novels were written when Judith married and moved to Edinburgh - Jess and the River Kids; Deepwater and the evocative So far from Skye based on her research into transportation from Skye during the 19th century Clearances. Perhaps her most fascinating book was Transported to Van Dieman's Land, a non-fiction work based on her research into her ancestors' early struggles in their new life. Sadly, Alzheimer's took away her talent and no more books appeared. She died in Stockport, March 2006.

All books published by Hamish Hamilton/Puffin except Transported to Van Dieman's Land which is published by CUP.

Val Bierman