Saturday, January 31, 2009

Residential Course at Le Verger

Fables and Folktales and the Stories of Philip Pullman:
A five day residential course at Le Verger, in the heart of the Burgundy countryside, from June 14th to June 20th 2009

The intention behind this five day course is to examine and discuss not just the different facets of Pullman's own writing but also their relationship to the storytelling traditions within which he works.

Course leaders: The course is led by Brian Alderson, founder of the Children's Books History Society and a former Children's Books Editor for The Times and organised by Rosemary Stones, Editor of Books for Keeps.

Participants: The course is aimed at enthusiasts who may have an academic or professional interest in children's literature.

About Le Verger: Le Verger is a beautifully renovated complex of farm buildings in a small village in the Yonne d├ępartement of Burgundy, France. It is easily reached by Eurostar and TGV or by car. Accommodation is a mixture of single and shared bedrooms. There is a swimming pool and large orchard garden. Burgundy is renowned for its Romanesque architecture, chateaux, food and wine and there will be time for visits to some of the many local places of interest.

Cost: £850 for a single room and £750 for a shared room. Price includes tuition,
food and expeditions to local places of interest.

For further details and an application form please contact Rosemary Stones, 7 Siddons Court, 39 Tavistock St, London WC2E 7NT. Tel: 020 7240 2674. Email:

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Sarah Ardizzone has won the £2,000 Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation for her translation of Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle (Walker Books). It is the second time Ardizzone has won the Award: she took it in 2005 for Eye of the Wolf by Daniel Pennac. She received it at the English-Speaking Union from Anthony Horowitz who made an excellent speech underlining the importance of translators. He congratulated especially the small publisher Aurora Metro for having three books on the short list and said that he would like to see Message in a Bottle by Valerie Zenatti (Bloomsbury) which takes the form of an email dialogue between an Israeli girl and a Palestinian boy in every secondary school.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

National Theatre

Terry Pratchett's young adult novel Nation will be staged by the National Theatre this coming November. It will be adapted by Mark Ravenhill - which should be interesting. The National has a good record of adapting modern children's books
ranging from His Dark Materials, Coram Boy, and War Horse. Terry Pratchett's story is about two children from different cultures coming of age on a desert island.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Waterstone's Children's Book Prize

Waterstone's has announced the eight titles in contention for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize. The prize is worth £5,000 to the winner.

How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant by Elen Caldecott (Bloomsbury)
Zelah Green Queen of Clean by Vanessa Curtis (Egmont)
Changeling by Steve Feasey (Macmillan)
Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison (Simon and Schuster)
Gnomes Are Forever by Ceci Jenkinson (Faber)
Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen (Oxford University Press)
The Mapmaker’s Monster by Rob Stevens (Macmillan)
Numbers by Rachel Ward (Chicken House).

The winner will be announced at a reception at Waterstone’s Piccadilly on Wednesday 18 February.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Imagine, Southbank London Children's Literature Festival


Thursday 12 – Friday 20 February 2009,
Southbank Centre
Tickets: £7 (adults); £4.50 (children),

Imagine, Southbank Centre’s annual Children’s Literature Festival, returns in February 2009, with an extensive nine-day programme of readings, storytelling, poetry, stand-up comedy, exhibitions, dance and music across the site – making it the ideal offering to spark the imagination this half-term.

The Festival runs from Thursday 12 – Friday 20 February and is designed for ages 5 to 11 years. Authors include Carol Ann Duffy, Brian Patten, Cathy Cassidy, Jan Blake, James Campbell in Comedy 4 Kids, magic from Paul Kieve.

Free events include a sing-along with folk super group Bellowhead; the opportunity to create stories through sound at The Hayward; a special Imagine Festival installation, including a magical library, on The Clore Ballroom in the Royal Festival Hall; an exhibition of Portuguese children’s book illustrations; an interactive trail to explore hidden poetry across the site; Kathak dance workshops with Southbank Centre Artist in Residence Gauri Sharma Tripathi; opportunities to hear the Gamelan; rapping and storytelling with Apples and Snakes; mask making and a performance of The Carnival Of The Animals.

Today Programme

I do urge all of you who failed to catch this item on the Today programme R4 on Wednesday 7 January at 8.18am to catch it on the Listen Again section of the BBC website. There you will hear Charlie Higson and Frank Cottrell Boyce in fine form talking about books, and books for boys. Charlie Higson thought that Project X, OUP's dive into interactive books (Carousel hasn't seen them as yet) looked "absolutely ghastly" and Frank Cottrell Boyce talking about the appalling transformation of school libraries into "learning resource centres" got well into his stride and had me cheering at the radio. No mealy mouthed words from either of them - what a joy.