Lauren Child announced as 10th Waterstones Children's Laureate
The Penguin Random House Children's author says, “children today need more freedom to dream and imagine”
Lauren Child, artist and highly-acclaimed author and illustrator of the bestselling and award-winning Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean picture books and Ruby Redfort novels, has today been crowned the 10th Waterstones Children’s Laureate. Child was presented with her medal from outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell at an afternoon ceremony at City Hall in Hull, which is UK City of Culture 2017.
The role of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is awarded every two years to an eminent author or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field and recognise the important contribution children’s literature makes to cultural life.
Child, a former artist’s assistant to Damien Hirst, is celebrated not only for creating her own books, but translating them into other media – most significantly in her role as associate producer of global hit television series Charlie and Lola.
Launching her laureateship by championing creativity, she said: “I want to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential, to make their own stories and drawings and ignite in them the delight of reading for pleasure. In an increasingly fast paced world, children need the freedom to dream and imagine; to enjoy reading, drawing and telling their own stories without value judgement or restraint”. She intends to encourage individuality and creativity in children by seeding ideas throughout her tenure that spark stories and drawings and to “celebrate random acts of imagination”.
Recognising the legacy of the role she is inheriting, Child said: “I am honoured to be chosen as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate and proud to be following in the illustrious footsteps of such giants of literature as Sir Quentin Blake, continuing the League of Laureates’ great work in elevating the status of children’s books in the UK’s cultural landscape”. She revealed plans to forge alliances with other expressive mediums during her term in office, saying: “My books have taken inspiration from many different art forms – from the illustrations of E.H. Shepard through Scandinavian Design, dolls houses and miniatures as well as the films of Woody Allen and Alfred Hitchcock. Now I would like to focus on building stronger links between the world of children’s literature and other art forms such as fine art, film, music, television and design.”
Child was presented with the specially commissioned solid silver Waterstones Children’s Laureate medal and a £15,000 bursary cheque by outgoing Laureate, Chris Riddell. Ceremony host was CBBC Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, one of the selection committee of the 2017 – 2019 Laureate, alongside Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Children’s Buyer at Waterstones Florentyna Martin and all members of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group.
Chair of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group, Abigail Campbell said: “Lauren Child is utterly brilliant. Loved by adults as well as children, her work is witty, innovative and absolutely unique. We're thrilled to announce her as the 10th Waterstones Children's Laureate”.
BookTrust’s Chief Executive Diana Gerald said: “Managing the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is an honour for BookTrust and we are delighted to be working with Lauren Child as Chris Riddell’s successor. Each of the Laureates has been wonderfully different from each other, but they share a core belief, one that underpins BookTrust’s own reason for being, and that is the power of reading, and its capacity to change children’s lives for the better. We want to inspire and unleash the love of reading for pleasure in children everywhere, whatever their background and I am delighted that our new Laureate is someone whose wonderful books and characters have already got so many children excited about reading. I can’t wait to experience the treasures that Lauren will no doubt bring to this role over the next couple of years.”
Child will be returning to Hull later in the month for the opening day of The Big Malarkey, the city’s first children’s literature festival, as part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017. She will be in the Big Malarkey Tent on Monday 26 June between 4pm and 5pm to answer questions and sign books.