Friday, October 27, 2006


Arthur Ransome’s charming collection of Russian folk tales, as told by Old Peter the forester to his grandchildren, Vanya and Maroosia, is this Christmas’s family offering on Radio 4. First published in 1916, Old Peter’s Russian Tales was published by Jane Nissen Books in 2003 with illustrations by Faith Jacques and introduction by Ransome expert Christina Hardyment. Written in Russia, where Ransome was a journalist in the lead up to and during the revolution, the stories sympathetically depict Old Peter as a devout Tsarist, despite Ransome’s strong personal friendship with Trotsky and Lenin (he married Trotsky’s secretary). The stories have been dramatised by David Britton and will be broadcast, with Trevor Cooper playing Old Peter, in Woman’s Hour at 10.45 each morning and then repeated at 19.45. Each story will be given 15 minutes and will go out from 25/12 to 29/12. (Sadko on 25/12, The Fool of the World on 26/12, Baba Yaga on 27/12, The Silver Saucer and the Transparent Apple on 28/12 and Little Master Misery on 29/12) Old Peter, Vanya and Maroosia live in a hut in the middle of the snowbound forest, in Russia, but their lives are rich. They have firewood, good soup, Vladimir, the affectionate cat, and wonderful stories to keep them going through the winter.

Trevor Cooper stars as Old Peter, with newcomers Harry Hughes and Jemmy Mackenzie Brown as the children. Trevor is a familiar face on British television, most recently seen as Oliver Hardy in BBC4’s Stan, and as Scaevinus in Ancient Rome and is currently filming The History of Mr Polly for ITV. He also played Henry Moss in Michael Attenborough’s The Late Henry Moss for the Almeida Theatre.

Arthur Ransome’s Old Peter’s Russian Tales (Jane Nissen Books £7.99 1-903252-16-4)

Saturday, October 21, 2006


The Illustration Cupboard has shown at galleries, festivals, conferences and on the web - and has done much to make the public more aware of the superb quality of many illustrators. On 15th November it will open its own all-year-round exhibition space (on three floors) at 22 Bury Street, London (Bury Street is off Jermyn Street at the St James's Street end - and Jermyn Street is the next street down from Piccadilly). The Winter Exhibition includes illustrations by Pauline Baynes, Babette Cole, Shirley Hughes, Robert Ingpen and Jan Pienkowski. The gallery will hold a constant and revolving programme of exhibitions throughout the year and there will be special family afternoons. Details will be found on the website.

Monday, October 16, 2006


The search for the 2006 winner has just started. This award was launchin in 2004 and since then the award has gone to '04 Anthony Horowitz "Scorpia"; ;05 JK Rowling "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"

The press release says the award is judged by 11-14 year olds in schools and libraries across the county. It also says fiction sequels are not eligible. So I'm confused...


Nicholas Allen is opening the Fair in aid of the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths. It will be held at the Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall, Hornton Street (just off Kensington High Street) London on 27th November - a preview evening at £15 which includes wine and canapes and runs from 6-9pm. The fair is open the following day, 28 November, from 9.30am-4pm admission £4.

Nicholas will be there throughout the event to meet his many fans and sign copies of his books including the latest More and More Rabbits. Why not ask him if he is prepared to do one of his conjuring tricks?!

Friday, October 13, 2006


"This is such an important award, especially in our perilous times. It makes us look beyond our horizons, and draws together readers and writers from around the world" - David Almond
The 2007 shortlist:
The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer
translated from Dutch by John Nieuwenhuizen
(Young Picador, Macmillan, 2006)
A Bridge to the Stars by Henning Mankell
translated from Swedish by Laurie Thompson
(Andersen Press, 2005)
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
translated from German by Anthea Bell
(Chicken House, 2004)
The Flowing Queen by Kai Meyer
translated from German by Anthea Bell
(Egmont, 2005)
Just Like Tomorrow by Faiza Guene
translated from French by Sarah Adams
(Random House, 2006)
Mimus by Lilli Thal
translated from German by John Brownjohn
(Allen & Unwin, 2005)
The winner will be announced on 23rd January 2007 at a ceremony at The Arts Club, London, where the award and a prize of £1000 will be presented to the translator of the winning book.

Monday, October 09, 2006


The Shortlisted books are:
Siobhan Dowd - A Swift Pure Cry - David Fickling Books
Ally Kennen - Beast - Scholastic Books
Paul Magrs - Exchange - Simon & Schuster
Anthony McGowan - Henry Tumour - Doubleday
Marcus Sedgwick - The Foreshadowing - Orion
John Singleton - Angel Blood - Puffin

The website for the prize promotes the prize and books for young people as well as carrying comments and reviews. The winner will be announced on Thursday 2 November.