Julia Eccleshare salutes Philip Reeve, winner of the Guardian children's fiction prize with A Darkling Plain, and the creator of an irresistible universe.
September 2006 Archives
And Geraldine McCaughrean also writes about her Peter Pan sequel in The Guardian:
What I attempted was a literary counterpart - the matching bookend - same world, but somewhat reversed. I do not entirely share Barrie's outlook on life. I do not swallow his assertion that we are born happy and dwindle to inevitable unhappiness. Nor do I share his mistrust of parents and grown-ups. If they are so dreadful, why are there Wendy houses and pirate swingboats in so many gardens?
Geraldine McCaughrean won Great Ormond Street�s competition to write the sequel to J. M. Barrie�s much-loved story. She writes about the experience in The Times:
Contrary to rumour, however much the dark knots in the human soul fascinate me, I am an entertainer first and foremost: a book as important as this one is no place for gloomy speculation. When your children read the sequel, I sincerely hope their shadows will have shrunk to nothing by the time they reach the end. Mine had.
Philip Reeve has won the 2006 Guardian Children's book Prize. The other shortlisted authors were Frank Cottrel Boyce, Patrick Cave and Frances Hardynge, all of whom attended the prize announcement at the Guardian Newsroom on Thursday 28th September. Patrick Cave seems to have avoided the ACHUKA camera and hence is not featured in the gallery.
first posted 2006-09-24 12:46:15
Last week Alyssa Brugman, an Australian author, reported ACHUKA to the Australian Society of Authors and to Faber for listing one of her proof copies on eBay.
An ultimatum from Faber has prompted the following, which I hope will in turn prompt responses from authors and publishers and other second-hand booktraders.
I shall look forward to getting feedback, both public and private. For public feedback leave a comment here or on ACHUKACHAT.
Thank you in advance for helping me do the right thing.
N.B. If the Comments link does not automatically open the Cmments window, right-click your mosue and select 'Open in new window'.
Some US authors, including Sonya Sones, defend thier right to tackle tough subjects.
Maureen Daly, whose coming-of-age novel "Seventeenth Summer" in 1942 � written before her 20th birthday � was credited with launching modern young adult literature, has died. She was 85.
We asked Andrew, son of CNN.com staffer Christy Oglesby, to again review a selection of titles because children's books don't always appeal to the audience for which they're intended. The voracious reader and precocious reviewer was pleased to offer his takes.
Glen Dimplex Children�s Book New Writers Award
Sophie and the Albino Camel Stephen Davies
Style Sisters � Friends First Liz Elwes
The Diamond of Drury Lane Julia Golding
Rewind Paul Manship
Katie Milk Solves Crimes and So On Annie Caulfield
The Awful Tale of Agatha Bilte Sian Pattenden
The winners of the inaugural Glen Dimplex New Writers Awards will be announced at a presentation ceremony on 2 November 2006 at The Four Seasons Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.
THE Sydney house where author Ethel Turner wrote the classic novel Seven Little Australians is to be protected for future generations. New South Wales Planning Minister Frank Sartor has announced the writer's 19th-century Killara home, in Sydney's north, will be placed on the State Heritage Register....
"Cathy's Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233" is scheduled to be in bookstores' young-adult sections next month. Cathy is a budding artist who turns to sleuthing to find out why her boyfriend dumped her. The innovative book uses working phone numbers and Web sites and a packet of "evidence" to send readers on an interactive scavenger hunt. Yet it is the book's behind-the-scenes deal � brokered before publication between Running Press, a subsidiary of Perseus Books Group, and Procter & Gamble, maker of CoverGirl cosmetics � that set off alarms among some booksellers, authors and child-advocacy groups.
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
Hilary McKay is always funny, touching and surprising, and has depths of wisdom despite her lightness of touch. She makes us care about these characters as we would about what happens to members of our own family. There is a chance that this book may not be the last, which is fortunate, because we just don�t want to say goodbye to the Cassons. NICOLETTE JONES
Hear, hear - ACHUKA says 'Hilary McKay is great' too!
Mary Hoffman asks who is expected to read Theresa Breslin's The Medici Seal:
This is a very substantial read, full of detail from the complicated history of the period, which the author has taken pains to incorporate into the equally complex adventure story of Matteo and his friends. But it's hard to see how it will find its audience. The language is uncompromising - I even had to look up a word, "schiltron" not being part of my vocabulary. And the plot, with rapes, murders, battles and gougings, puts it firmly at the top end of the young market. Yet, even though this is clearly not a jolly romp for juniors, there is no hint of the real-life relationships with apprentices and other young men that Leonardo is known to have had. So who exactly is it for?
Amanda Craig is hard-hitting about her dislike of G. P. Taylor's new fantasy The Curse Of Salamander Street:
OF THE 100 OR SO children�s books that I am sent each week, well over three quarters are fantasy. Where most critics blanche at the mention of two moons, hairy feet, wizards� staffs and angels, I am an unabashed devotee of the genre, which makes me all the angrier at the bad stuff being published. The very worst is G. P. Taylor�s The Curse of Salamander Street. I am appalled at the way this author has managed to rise on a minimum of talent and a maximum of self- publicising stunts (such as his claim that he was defending free speech when ejected from a school reading for using foul language).
She much prefers The Hollow People by Brian Keaney, "a remarkable piece of writing, broodingly atmospheric and sympathetic towards its troubled teenaged protagonists."
The archbishop's remarks were criticised by children's author and retired Anglican cleric GP Taylor, who accused him of scaremongering. "Williams is out of touch. It's as if he gets his ideas from a script of EastEnders. In reality he is only talking about a small group in society, not a generation. I am seeing young people every day: they are in the majority caring, loving, well-balanced and imaginative."
Matthew Skelton interviewed (briefly) by the Washington Post.
A short feature article / interview with Terry Deary to herald:
Terry Deary's Tales From The Mabinogi is at the Sherman Theatre [Cardiff] at 6.30pm from Monday, September 25 to Wednesday, 27. The show will be recorded by BBC Radio Wales and Terry will sign books afterwards. Tickets are free and can be reserved in advance.
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
Frozen Fire by Tim Bowler
The theme of the book is how people fear difference, and if the plot is not always entirely logical, it is because Bowler pursues philosophical truths that go beyond logic. What absolutely drives this novel forward, though, is its gasp-inducing chapter ends, and its capacity to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. NICOLETTE JONES
Shortlists for the three categories in the Blue Peter Book Awards 2006
The Book I Couldn�t Put Down
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo
Blood Fever by Charlie Higson
GRK and the Pelotti Gang by Joshua Doder
The Best Book with Facts
Connor�s Eco Den by Pippa Goodhart
Poo by Nicola Davies and Neal Layton
Spud Goes Green by Giles Thaxton
The Best Illustrated Book to Read Aloud
Guess Who�s Coming for Dinner? by John Kelly and Cathy Tincknell
Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Traction Man is Here by Mini Grey
Diane Samuels reviews Just In Case by Meg Rosoff
While Just In Case can feel episodic rather than fused by a fully flowing and galvanised narrative, it is none the less a vibrant, questioning and unpredictable read. At once great fun and rather disturbing.
Inside the real Lian Hearn How, and why, does a conventional Englishwoman come to write bestselling fantasies about medieval Japan? Amanda Craig finds out...
Amanda Craig profiles Gillian Rubinsteinn a.k.a. Lian Hearn
MORE than 100 academics, teachers, psychologists, children's authors and other experts [on Tuesday] called for a major public debate on child-rearing in the 21st century. The escalating incidence of childhood depression is caused, they suggested, by a lack of understanding, by both politicians and public, of the realities and subtleties of child development.
Children are losing their imaginative powers, claims a group of child experts. Rubbish, says best-selling children's author, GP Taylor, they're just as creative as ever... "It's nostalgic claptrap, it's tosh, this idea that we should go back to the 1950s. Because even in the 1950s, people were saying 'the radio is terrible, it's leading young people astray'," says Mr Taylor, who worked as a Church of England vicar before becoming a children's author... And he is unimpressed by the suggestion that the current crop of children are being stifled by the way they live. Times change, cultures change, but it doesn't mean that childhood comes to a grinding halt, he says. "It seems so knee-jerky, it's the old guard, trotting it out, saying 'oh woe is the world'. And it's not, I'm out there every day and the world is a fine place. The kids are as creative now as they ever have been."
JK Rowling, returning from a charity book reading in New York just days after the security clampdown, was confronted with a demand that she consign the unfinished manuscript to the hold. She pleaded with security staff in New York to allow her to keep the manuscript with her. They relented finally, and allowed her take it into the cabin, unwrapped and bound together with elastic bands. In a revelation which will have left her publishers shuddering, she disclosed that the manuscript was largely handwritten and with no back-up copy.
The Twits have metamorphosed into modern Scots to become The Eejits. On Roald Dahl Day tomorrow, the date that would have been the author's 90th birthday, the world's most revolting couple will be revealed in all their "manky glory" after being translated into Scots by Matthew Fitt, the children's author... ...
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
"Morpurgo does it again NICOLETTE JONES"
The four books shortlisted for this year's Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (to be announced on Septemeber 28th) are:
A lot of children's illustrators today grab your attention with the speed and economy of their style, but Angela Barrett approaches things very differently. There is a stillness and a quiet atmospheric intensity to her illustrations which appeal across a wide range of understanding. She doesn't simplify things - on the contrary, she both assumes and respects the intelligence of her readers - and her richly allusive work, full of detail and symbolism, invites and rewards as much time and investigation as you care to give it.
So begins Joanna Carey's excellent feature on the illustrator Angela Barrett (in The Guardian).
Amanda Craig enjoys Tiger! by Geoffrey Malone:
Geoffrey Malone, an admired writer of animal adventures, has turned his attention in Tiger! to the struggles of Kuma, a female in a reserve in central India. Kuma is about to give birth, and her story begins with her desperation to kill an antelope to gain the energy she needs. Malone describes Kuma�s careful tracking, her lucky kill, and her retreat to the secret cave she has found to give birth in clear, dramatic prose. Her story is one of heart-stopping courage and pathos, which adults may dismiss as anthropomorphism but which thrills the same way as London�s White Fang does.
Egmont Press has launched a multi-channel marketing campaign for the final book in the Lemony Snicket 'Unfortunate Events' series. The campaign aims to promote 'The End', the 13th and final book in the series by US author Daniel Handler. It also aims to recruit new readers and promote the entire series, which has sold more than 5m copies in the UK to date. The multi-channel campaign, which was created by communications agency ArtScience, includes a website www.unfortunateevents.com, online and in-store marketing.
The shortlisted books for the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2006 are:
Siobhan Dowd A Swift Pure Cry
Ally Kennen Beast
Paul Magrs Exchange
Anthony McGowan Henry Tumour
Marcus Sedgwick The Foreshadowing
John Singleton Angel Blood
Michael Winner - collecter of children's illustrations:
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST INDULGENT PURCHASE? MY BEATRIX Potter watercolour of Benjamin Bunny. It is two-and-a-half inches by three inches and cost ?32,000 recently at auction. I started collecting original illustrations from children's books 40 years ago. Everyone sniffed at me at first, but juvenalia has risen most in price in 30 years of any artwork.
The winning book in the first Waterstone's/Faber first novel award has just been published:
[Sarah Wray] The Belfast woman who dreamed of making her name as a children's novelist was breaking open the champage on Monday, at her own book launch party. Her novel, The Forbidden Room, was chosen from 3,500 entries across the United Kingdom in a competition organised by Waterstones and Faber & Faber to find the next big children's novelist.
[Colin] Thiele, 85, died yesterday in Queensland after heart problems. He published more than 90 books and was also a poet, playwright, adult novelist and teacher. But it was as a children's writer that he was best known. Storm Boy, published in 1963 and turned into an acclaimed film in 1976... ...
see also The Australian death notice
Iranian nominee for Swedish Astrid Lindgren award Janet Mikhaiili dies at 70
TEHRAN, Sept. 4 (Mehr News Agency) -- Iranian children's book illustrator Janet Mikhaiili died of cerebral apoplexy at the age of 70 at her home on September 2.
Mikhaiili was one of four Iranians nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2007, which will be presented by the Swedish government in May at the Skansen Open-Air Museum in Stockholm, but she lost the chance, because the prize is only awarded to living people. ...
Alan Garner, writing in The Times and recalling starting work on his first novel, The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen, 50 years ago:
Much has changed in those 50-years-to-now; but one thing has not. The more critically successful a writer becomes, the more need there is for a strong editor. To think otherwise risks artistic suicide. A trusted editor, dedicated to the text and sensitive to its author, is the making of a writer and is the great teacher. On the high trapeze, the Flyer may be the one who draws the applause from the crowd, but it�s the editorial Catcher who times the flight. I have been fortunate in my editors. The readers� reports for the three novels that followed my second all recommended rejection on the same grounds each time: that the new book was different from the previous one. And each time the editor had faith, and published.
Very Highly Recommended
Sunday Times Children's Book Of The Week
The September issue of Shanville, Darren Shan's monthy newsletter - news & feature packed as ever, including a link to some amateur footage of the author on YouTube. Do catch up with Shan's blog, if you haven't read it recently. The link is on this page, in the right-hand panel.
JK ROWLING has been forced to correct a plot blunder in a Harry Potter book....
Amanda Craig has mixed feelings about the junior edition of Eats, Shoots & Leaves:
The reason why grammar bores children rigid is that it runs counter to all their subversive instincts. Bonnie Timmons, the illustrator, grasps this but Truss, it seems, does not. My generation grew up feeling that, thanks to Star Trek, splitting infinitives to boldly go was much more exciting than to go boldly. I can�t help feeling that our children will feel the same way about correct punctuation.