Philippa Pearce died at the end of 2006 and widespread respect and affection for her writing is as strong as it ever was. Such is the extraordinary quality of her work that it has not only been honoured by the literary establishment, but has also constantly inspired new young readers and writers. Our aim, therefore, is to encourage young readers and writers, as Philippa Pearce valued so much her engagement with them. '
We' are a small group of her friends, family and colleagues who are planning a series of five lectures, spread over five years, to be delivered by various distinguished speakers with an interest in children's books. Some of the speakers may be authors themselves; all, from their different perspectives, will provoke thought. In this way and in Philippa Pearce's honour, we seek to acknowledge and understand excellence in writing for children, and to emphasize its continuing vital importance.
On 11th September 2008, at Homerton College - an institution with which she was always happy to be involved - the inaugural lecture will take the form of a direct tribute to Philippa Pearce's work. Subsequent lectures will range more widely, over the works of others, but will tend to reflect her own wide-ranging literary interests in, for example, the short story, the ghost story, the picture book and, of course, the novel.
In 2008, her own best loved novel, Tom's Midnight Garden, will have been in print for 50 years. Also in 2008 will come the publication of her very last story, A Finder's Magic, completed just before she died. Both will be widely celebrated by children, parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and book lovers of every kind: a fitting context for the Memorial Lecture itself. Alongside the inaugural lecture, there will be a small exhibition of books, illustrations and other ephemera relating to Philippa Pearce's work in Homerton College library. We will not be charging admission to the first lecture, but numbers will be limited and from 1st April there will be a booking system in place on the website. You will need to use this to secure a seat. It will be found under the lectures link when you visit the web page www.pearcelecture.com