Monday, December 29, 2008

Quentin Blake

As you step out of St Pancras International, a 16m high building wrap greets onlookers with a busy scene of celebration. Dining and drinking, dancing and singing, these characters welcome new arrivals at the station.
The drawing is the work of world renowned illustrator, Quentin Blake. The piece was commissioned by Argent, London and Continental Railways and DHL-Exel Supply Chain, the developers of King’s Cross. It is the first of many public art initiatives intended for the scheme.

Quentin Blake has illustrated over 300 books, but never a building. He was appointed the first Children’s Laureate in 1999 and made a CBE in 2005.

Quentin Blake is one of the driving forces behind the idea to bring the UK’s first Museum of Illustration to King’s Cross. This Museum will celebrate historical and contemporary illustration as well as Quentin’s own work.

The installation is mounted on the Grade II listed Stanley Building, one of sixteen Victorian structures on site. New development will embrace this heritage to create a new piece of city with a historic sense of place. The Stanley Building will be refurbished for new uses in due course.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Adrian Mitchell

Adrian Mitchell died on December 20th. He was a natural pacifist, a great campaigner and, in his own words, 'a free-falling poet, playwright and writer of stories'. He believed that 'Most people ignore poetry / because / most poetry ignores people', and wanted his own poems, particularly those he wrote specifically for children, to live, dance, sing and fly - not be pinned out and dissected like dead beetles. On the day I went to interview Adrian I bumped into him on Hampstead Heath as he walked his dog Daisy, 'the peace dog'. Soon he'd introduced me to most of the other dogs and dog-walkers on the Heath that morning. 'Say hello to Daisy,' he was careful to say on each new encounter. He was a robust, gentle man ('dear good-natured Adrian,' Kenneth Tynan called him) who exuded enthusiasm.
Chris Stephenson

Friday, December 05, 2008

Shirley Hughes 6 Dec at Illustration Cupboard

Gallery event: Shirley Hughes on Saturday 6th December.
We are delighted to be ushering in the festive season by uncorking the finest fino and enjoying a yuletide sherry
with Shirley Hughes here at the gallery tomorrow signing copies of her fantastic new fairytale Jonadab and Rita.
Families are most welcome.
Books will be available for purchase and signing.
There is also a chance to see some of Shirley’s fabulous original artwork which is featured as part of our current Winter Exhibition.

The 13th Annual Winter Exhibition
New work by 50 leading artists from around the world
Original artwork from £150
Signed special edition giclée prints from £95
Signed first edition books £9.99 - £45.

Highlights include original work by Jan Pieńkowski, Polly Borland and Lauren Child,
Anita Jeram, Babette Cole, Chris Riddell, John Lawrence, Gary Blythe, Robert Ingpen, Niamh Sharkey,
Graham Oakley, Anthony Browne, Angela Barrett, Jane Ray, Oliver Jeffers, Bruce Ingman
and special signed editions of Where The Wild Things are by Maurice Sendak.

22 Bury St.
London, SW1Y 6AL
10am to 6pm Monday to Friday
(7pm Thursdays until Christmas).
Saturday 12pm – 5pm
Preview on

Tube: Green Park station (Piccadilly, Victoria and Jubilee)

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Educational Writers Award

Gilbert's The Little Book of Thunks: 260 Questions to Make your Brain Go Ouch! (Crown House Publishing) has won this year's Educational Writers' Award. The award is sponsored by the Authors' Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and supported and administered by the Society of Authors.

Gilbert received his cheque for £2,000 from Dr Ian Gibson MP at a reception at the Stationers' Hall, London. This year's award was presented for non-fiction published in 2006 and 2007 that enhanced teaching and learning for 12 to 18 year-olds.

The judges described Gilbert's book as "a completely original book to get all ages stretching their imaginations, thinking, discussing cogently and debating… a valuable tool for the teacher”.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Two new films with stellar casts

The Tale of Despereaux
Friday 19th December sees the release of a major Universal Pictures animated film based on Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Award-winning The Tale of Despereaux, starring Matthew Broderick as Despereaux, Dustin Hoffman as Roscuro, and Emma Watson as Princess Pea. There are also cameos from Sigourney Weaver, Tracey Ullman and Robbie Coltrane.


The film version of Cornelia Funke's fantasy novel stars Helen Mirren, Jim Broadbent, Brendan Fraser, Paul Bettany, Andy Serkis and Sienna Guillory. The film will be playing in 500 British cinemas from Friday 12th December and is set for a massive media campaign including X-factor this weekend!

Campaign for the Book December Newsletter

A hard rain’s gonna fall?
This is the grim assessment of the Local Government Association on the situation for public services after the credit crunch:
The economic slowdown has left town halls having to find more than a billion pounds of savings over the next three years to safeguard vital local services and keep council tax down, town hall leaders will say today.
The Local Government Association, which represents over 400 councils in England & Wales, is warning that the grim economic climate and rising inflation is forcing councils to come up with new ways to make money go further and maintain normal services.
New analysis shows that spiralling inflation has reduced the real terms value of money that councils receive in grant from the Government and through council tax. In real terms, the funding awarded to councils in last year’s Comprehensive Spending Review is now worth almost £500m a year less than the Government intended.
Already, there are reports of cuts around the UK. The Highlands and Aberdeen have faced cost cutting to their Schools Library Service and Wirral has announced ‘reconfiguration’ of its library service. The Campaign for the Book was launched in part to remind councils of their responsibilities and to support campaigns against cuts to library services. Please contact the Campaign with your stories. We will do our best to provide speakers for meetings.

Campaign summer conference
I can announce the details of the Campaign for the Book summer conference.
Campaign for the Book conference
Saturday, 27th June
King Edward’s School, Birmingham B15 2UA.
My thanks to school librarian Jean Allen who has secured the venue for us at a nominal rate.
I am aware that the Conference is now scheduled only a week after the School Library Association’s weekend event on June 20th and 21st. I am afraid there was no other date at which I could get a venue at reasonable cost. Some establishments were asking for between £2,000 and £7,000! I would urge anyone going to the SLA event to come along to Birmingham the week after too. Bodies like the SLA and the Campaign for the Book share a very similar vision. Consider it a busy two weeks to take a stand on behalf of libraries and reading for pleasure. The two events will complement each other.
One of the centrepieces of the conference will be a Question Time session on the future of libraries and reading. The following have already accepted an invitiation to speak: Roy Clare, MLA executive, Lyn Brown MP, Labour, all Party Parliamentary Group on Libraries, Ed Vaizey MP, Conservative speaker on Culture. I am awaiting final confirmation from the Liberal Democrats and from leading authors who will join the debate.
I will announce the remaining list of speakers once they have all confirmed. I would urge everyone in the Society of Authors, Cilip, YLG, SLA, the National Literacy Association, the National Association for Primary Education, the public service trade unions and publishers and the many individuals who have supported the Campaign to circulate the details of the Conference as widely as possible. I believe it can become a focus for debate about the future of libraries and books, supporting all the other groups and individuals who share our love of reading.
These are the next steps:
1) Supporters circulate this newsletter as widely as possible.
2) Organizers issue the first leaflet advertising the Conference just after Christmas. Illustrator Steve Weatherill has kindly agreed to provide a cartoon for the first leaflet. Each month I will be asking an illustrator to design a different leaflet to sustain the momentum.
3) Final confirmation of speakers.
4) Collection of delegate fees. This will be set at the lowest level possible and include coffee, tea and a lunch. At the moment it looks likely that the cost will be very low indeed. Most speakers have already indicated that they will attend for the nominal cost of travel only and accommodation if at long distance. My thanks to them for that.
For further information, please contact:
Alan Gibbons:

Terry Pratchett

You can read the full interview in The Independent 29 November. What follows is Terry hitting the nail on the head...

'He is often asked if he really believes that his novels are suitable for young readers, and even sometimes whether the books he writes especially for them have entirely suitable themes.

"My advice is this. For Christ's sake, don't write a book that is suitable for a kid of 12 years old, because the kids who read who are 12 years old are reading books for adults. I read all of the James Bond books when I was about 11, which was approximately the right time to read James Bond books. So you work out this kind of little equation in your head and you think, yeah, like Nation – the one that's just come out – that's a book for kids. And people will say: 'Well it covers very adult subjects ...' Yeah, that's why it's a book for kids. Because you want kids to grow up to be adults, not just bigger kids."

Monday, December 01, 2008

no to age banding campaign

People are still signing up to the campaign against putting ages on books ...the total now stands at an impressive 4670. However some publishers are now putting ages on books - but all publishers say they will not put an age on a book without the specific agreement of the author.