Excellent feature piece by Claire Armitstead on Michael Rosen:
Michael Rosen is a man ambushed by stories – his own and other people’s. He thinks he has published four books so far this year, though neither he, nor anyone from what turns out to be five publishers, seems sure. No sooner had he sent his latest, a hefty memoir, to press than a stash of family photographs emerged from a cupboard in the US, adding an irresistible twist to his life story, and that of his extensive tribe. The result, he cheerfully announces, is that the proof copy I have just read is already out of date as he has added a new postscript to the finished version.
At 71, Rosen is one of the UK’s best-known children’s writers, with more than 200 books to his name – hence his momentary forgetfulness. Though his stock in trade is comic verse for small children, this year’s crop includes a non-fiction book about Émile Zola, the second in a series of novels about 10-year-old Malcolm and his bossy Uncle Gobb, a picture book about a very fierce cat, an illustrated version of his 4m-hit YouTube poem, “Chocolate Cake”, and the memoir, So They Call You Pisher!
He is also a professor of children’s literature at Goldsmiths, University of London, and a passionate defender of progressive education in the UK state school system, with a column in the Guardian and a strong broadcasting presence as presenter of Radio 4’s Word of Mouth.