Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition 2009
Carol Ann Duffy, the new Poet Laureate, is to chair the judging panel for a worldwide poetry competition for 7-11 year olds. The Competition is organised by the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, a poetry book club for young people run by the Poetry Book Society. Children will be asked to write a poem in English on the theme of ‘Heroes and Heroines’.
Now in its fourth year, the competition is open to both individuals and schools. Cash prizes of £250 for first prize, £100 for second and £50 for third will be awarded, along with books and CPB memberships, in two age groups, 7-8 year-olds and 9-11 year-olds. Entries will be accepted from Thursday 10 September, up until the closing date of Monday 19 October. The winners will be announced at a gala celebration in London in December.
The British Council partnership, established last year, will continue to encourage entries to the ‘International Learner category’ for children based outside the UK who are learning English as a foreign or second language. See www.britishcouncil.org/kids-poetry-competition-2009
The Old Possum’s Children’s Poetry Competition aims to encourage children to write poems of their own and to help teachers to bring poetry alive in the classroom. A teacher’s guide to accompany the competition will be available to download from the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf website (www.childrenspoetrybookshelf.co.uk) from early September, along with further information about the competition.
Behind the Scenes with Anthony Browne
Saturday 17 October – Saturday 31 October 2009
New Children’s Laureate, Anthony Browne, has an exhibition in which all of the artwork is for sale. It will include rarely seen sketches from such classics as Gorilla (1983), Alice in Wonderland (1988), Willy’s Pictures (2000) and Into the Forest (2004), as well as finished pieces. Venue: Cox & Power, 35c Marylebone High Street, London W1U 4QA.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
With regard to the original designing of Mind Your Own Business, mentioned in the last ‘Classics in Short’ (BfK No. 177), Quentin Blake has written to me to point out that a brief account of the collaborative creation of the book is given on pp.62-3 of his Words and Pictures (2000). I’m very grateful for the reference – but also deeply mortified.
Words and Pictures is one of the great books on the art of illustration (there ain’t many) and I should have remembered the presence there of this account of the fashioning of the volume, which is also a perfect demonstration of the successful wedding of illustrations to a chosen text.
Brian Alderson, N Yorkshire
Branford Boase Award 2009
The 2009 winners are B R Collins for The Traitor Game (Bloomsbury) and her editor, Emma Matthewson.
The runners up were Jeremy De Quidt for The Toymaker (David Fickling Books) edited by Bella Pearson; Emily Diamand’s Flood Child (Chicken House) edited by Imogen Cooper (published originally as Reavers’ Ransom); Marie-Louise Jensen’s Between Two Seas (OUP) edited by Liz Cross; Katy Moran’s Bloodline (Walker) edited by Denise Johnstone-Burt; Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go (Walker) edited by Denise Johnstone-Burt; and Sally Nicholls’s Ways to Live Forever (Marion Lloyd Books) edited by Marion Lloyd.
The judging panel, chaired by Julia Eccleshare, included Jenny Downham, author of last year’s winner, Before I Die, as well as Jane Churchill of the Cheltenham Literary Festival, librarian John Dunne and Caroline Horn of Readingzone and the Bookseller.
Red House Children’s Book Award 2009
Voted for solely by young readers, this year’s overall winner is Blood Ties (Simon & Schuster) by Sophie McKenzie which won both the older readers’ category and the overall prize in the award, which is owned and co-ordinated by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. It is a gripping thriller that explores issues of genetic engineering and personal identity.
Allan Ahlberg’s picture book The Pencil (Walker), illustrated by Bruce Ingman, won the younger children category, while Kes Gray’s Daisy and the Trouble with Zoos (Random House) won the younger readers’ category.
143,295 votes were cast by children and young adults all over the UK both online and through ballots collated by regional co-ordinators of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.
CLPE Poetry Award for 2009
The CLPE Poetry Award honours excellence in poetry written for children. The winner of the 2009 award is John Agard’s The Young Inferno, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (Frances Lincoln).
Jackie Kay, Poetry Award judge, said: ‘The Young Inferno is a vibrant and brilliant retelling for young people of Dante’s classic. Agard finds ways to make the old new as we follow our hoodie hero through the nine circles of hell and back again… Always energetic and mentally dextrous, Agard’s The Young Inferno puts us through the paces and brings us face to face with the Furies!’
The other shortlisted titles were Allan Ahlberg’s Collected Poems, illustrated by Charlotte Voake (Puffin); Sharon Creech’s Hate That Cat (Bloomsbury); Sophie Hannah and John Hegley’s (eds) The Ropes (Diamond Twig); and JonArno Lawson’s (ed) Inside Out, illustrated by Jonny Hannah (Walker).
Naomi Lewis FRSL
Brian Alderson writes…
Naomi was a good and longstanding friend of BfK, for which she wrote many pieces, including her famous Authorgraph interview with Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll in No. 71). Beyond that though, she was pre-eminent among twentieth-century commentators on literature, both for adults and children, confining herself all too often, alas, to the ephemeral sites of newspapers (chiefly the Observer) and magazine columns. An early assemblage, which shows the quality of such writing, was A Visit to Mrs Wilcox of 1957, while her sensitive appraisals of much writing for children must be sought in her many introductions and ‘afterwords’ to other people’s texts (see especially the running commentary in her collection of doll stories, The Silent Playmate) or in the making of anthologies, such as the unsurpassable Messages of 1985. Her own writing for the young has often taken the form of re-worked picture-book texts, and throughout her career she had a fascinated engagement with the stories of Hans Christian Andersen, proving herself to be perhaps his most sensitive English-language translator. BfK may pride itself for being one of the few journals – No. 65 of 1990 – where a full assessment of her genius has been attempted.
Photograph by Richard Mewton.