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Celebrating 20 years of the Children's Laureate

4th Nov 18

Plans have been unveiled for next year's celebration of 20 years of the Children's Laureate, a role that was created in 1999 by Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children's author Michael Morpurgo.

From February 2019, all ten Children's Laureates will take part in a campaign to celebrate its first 20 years, including: Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson, Malorie Blackman, Chris Riddell and Lauren Child.

Highlights of the campaign will include a specially commissioned anthology of stories, poems and pictures from the ten Children's Laureates as well as a nationwide League of Laureates tour, and a partnership with Puffin Virtually Live.

Walker Books will also publish a gift anthology, Flights of Fancy: Stories, pictures and inspiration from ten Children's Laureates, in February, with original contributions from all ten of the former honourees.

Flights of Fancy aims to inspire children to let their imaginations soar, with rare insights such as Quentin Blake on the stories behind his pictures of weird and wonderful beasts, an original short story from Jacqueline Wilson, and witty, read-aloud poems by Michael Rosen that play with language and shape. Part of the proceeds from sales of the book will go to BookTrust, which manages the role.

Jane Winterbotham, publishing director at Walker Books, said, "In this original and entertaining anthology, the Laureates have shared their own techniques and inspiration, to help children unlock their imaginations and produce their own work." She hopes the book will "help to inspire the next generation of authors, illustrators, poets and possibly even a future Laureate".

The 'League of Laureates' nationwide tour will see Laureates appearing at a series of events across the country with the final celebration taking place at Hay Festival, which takes place 23 May-2 June.

Puffin Virtually Live will celebrate the anniversary with two webcasts in the spring and summer term, each one starring Children's Laureates. These will be streamed free online.

Waterstones, which sponsor the Children's Laureate, will join in the celebrations by working with BookTrust to put on a special event for school children with some of the past Children's Laureates, hosted by Waterstones Piccadilly.

The Children’s Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent children's book writer or illustrator to honour outstanding achievement in their field. The Laureates are the foremost representative of children's literature in the UK.

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