The highly-acclaimed author and illustrator hopes to bring children “more freedom to dream and imagine” in her new role.
Lauren Child, award-winning author and illustrator of the bestselling children’s books Charlie and Lola, Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort has today been crowned the latest Waterstone’s Children’s Laureate at an exclusive ceremony in Hull City Hall.
Presented with her medal by the outgoing Waterstones Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, Lauren Child is the 10th literary figure to take the title, which is awarded every two years to an author or illustrator of children’s books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field and recognise the importance of children’s literature. Previous recipients include Quentin Blake, Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson.
Child is more than just a celebrated author however; her other credits include a role as associate producer of the Charlie and Lola television series, and she hopes to launch her laureateship by championing creativity, individuality and random acts of imagination.
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.”
Once an artist’s assistant to Damien Hirst, Child recognises the significance of marrying various artforms together to inspire creativity.
She revealed plans to forge alliances with a range of other expressive mediums during her laureateship, saying: “My books have taken inspiration from many different art forms – from the illustrations of E.H. Shepard right through to Scandinavian design, dolls houses and 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 artforms such as fine art, film, music, television and design.”
Child was presented with a £15,000 bursary cheque alongside her medal in the special ceremony hosted by CBBC Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, part of the selection committee tasked with choosing the 2017-2019 Laureate alongside Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, Waterstones Children’s Buyer Florentyna Martin and the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group.
Abigail Campbell, Chair of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group 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, and that is the power of reading and its capacity to change children’s lives for the better.”
“I can’t wait to experience the treasures that Lauren will no doubt bring to this role over the next couple of years.”
Lauren Child will be returning to Hull for The Big Malarkey Festival of children’s literature in East Park on Monday 26 June from 4pm-5pm. Bring the kids along to meet Lauren and have their questions answered!