Two of this year’s esteemed conference speakers are not only past Children’s Laureates but between them they have also been overall winners of the Children’s Book Award six times! It therefore seems entirely fitting that Sir Michael Morpurgo and Dame Jacqueline Wilson will be helping us to celebrate the Federation of Children’s Book Groups 50th anniversary.
Michael has recently become an ambassador for the literacy charity Beanstalk which works to bring vital one-to-one reading support to children in England. His latest book Flamingo Boy (HarperCollins) is due for publication in March and a new adaptation of An Elephant in the Garden (HarperCollins) will be performed at the Sam Wanamaker theatre in July. Jacqueline’s latest book Wave Me Goodbye (Yearling) has inspired a family day of events at the Museum of London in March, including a talk by the author herself. Later this year Jacqueline will be receiving a BAFTA Special Award for her contribution to children’s television.
Both Jacqueline and Michael will be appearing on Saturday 14th April; and as Michael was unable to attend the CBA ceremony this year, we are planning to present him with the beautiful silver trophy during the Gala Dinner.
Other long-standing friends of FCBG who will be joining us include Judith Kerr, James Mayhew, Jackie Morris, and Kaye Umansky. Judith Kerr OBE is also celebrating a Golden anniversary this year. Her ageless picture book The Tiger Who Came For Tea (HarperCollins), published 50 years ago, continues to delight each new generation of young readers. What better way to celebrate than to hold a vintage tea party in her honour! Picture book creators James Mayhew and Jackie Morris will be talking about their recent collaboration on Mrs Noah’s Pockets (Otter-Barry Books). We are sure that many delegates will be keen to talk to Jackie about her art work for the highly acclaimed The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane (Hamish Hamilton).
James will also be talking to debut children’s author Zeb Soanes with whom he has been developing a series of picture books inspired by a real-life urban fox. We are absolutely delighted that Kaye Umansky will be closing the conference for us. Last year saw the publication of new editions of her Pongwiffy stories illustrated by Katy Riddell as well as the first book of a brand new series Witch for a Week, both published by Simon & Schuster.
We are also looking forward to encounters with illustrators Meg McLaren, Lydia Monks and Lizzy Stewart; the doyennes of crime writing for young readers Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine; the creator of a new form of ‘beetlemania’ MG Leonard; and a rising star of fiction for older teenagers Patrice Lawrence. And that’s not all! We’ll be raising a pre-gala dinner glass with Sarah Crossan, exploring the fantasy worlds created by Justin Somper and celebrating storytelling around the globe with Chitra Soundar.
Next time we’ll be introducing some of the publishers involved in the conference. For the full programme and information about booking see here.
All booking closes on Friday 9th March.