Malorie Blackman named as Children's Laureate

Catherine Gaunt
Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Malorie Blackman, who has won many awards for writing books for teenagers, is the new Children's Laureate.

Ms Blackman takes over the role from the outgoing Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo.

As the Children’s Laureate for 2013-15, Ms Blackman will call on parents to spend at least ten minutes a day reading with their children to get ‘more children reading more’.

Ms Blackman said, ‘I am honoured to have been chosen as the eighth Children’s Laureate. A love of books has opened so many doors for me.

'Stories have inspired me and taught me to aspire. I’ve been a professional author for over 20 years, so I feel now is the time to give something back.

‘I hope to instill in every child I meet my love and enthusiasm for reading and stories. And as I would never have become an author if it hadn't been for my local library as a child, I intend to continue Julia Donaldson's amazing, indefatigable work advocating for our nation's public library service.’

Ms Blackman is a former scriptwriter on the television series Byker Grove and is the author of 60 books for children, including picture books, and has won several awards for her teenage fiction.

The multi-award winning novel Noughts and Crosses was her first book in a series concerning race and ethnic identity, in which black people ‘Crosses’ are the ruling elite and white people or ‘Noughts’ are denied legal rights and work in menial jobs.

Her other novels include Boys Don’t Cry about teenage fathers, award-winning Hacker, Cloud-Busting , Thief!, and her novel Pig-Heart Boy was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and was adapted into a BAFTA-winning TV series. In 2008 she received an OBE.

Ms Blackman was presented with a specially commissioned solid silver Children’s Laureate medal and a £15,000 bursary cheque by Channel 4 News Anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, a member of the Children’s Laureate selection committee for 2013-15.

Mr Guru-Murthy said, ‘Malorie Blackman's stories are gripping, daring and reach out to young people who might otherwise spend all their time on video games and the internet. The panel are unanimous in believing she will be a brilliant and passionate Children's Laureate.’

The two-year appointment of Children’s Laureate was set up in 1999 to celebrate exceptional authors and illustrators and to inspire young readers. The first Children's Laureate was illustrator Quentin Blake for 1999-2001, followed by Anne Fine (2001-2003), Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005), Jacqueline Wilson (2005-2007), Michael Rosen (2007 – 2009), Anthony Browne (2009 – 2011), and Julia Donaldson (2011-2013).

The lead sponsor is bookseller Waterstones.

 

 

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