Archived News 2000-2010
Some Events in 2010
At the end of last year, I joined the End Child Detention Now campaign. Nearly 70 children’s authors and illustrators signed a letter of protest
calling on the government to stop keeping child asylum-seekers in prison conditions. Karin Littlewood (who illustrated Baba’s Gift) and I visited Yarl’s Wood Detention Centre for a storytelling session with some of the young people detained there. Click here to read about our experience. It’s not something I shall forget. This shameful practice should be stopped.
The year ahead is already looking busy. Here are a few reasons why...
- I shall be at the Guardian Hay Festival Segovia in Spain 24-26 September and look forward to meeting Spanish audiences.
- I shall be storytelling and talking with readers in Hackney, London, in this year’s Starlit Festival
- Journey to Jo'burg will celebrate its 25th anniversary. It was first published in 1985 in the UK. On 23 April 2010, Canon Collins Trust, with whom I share the royalties, is holding an event at the London School of Oriental and African Studies to look at the journey of this little book that was originally banned in apartheid South Africa. Michael Rosen will also discuss with a panel of South African writers the power of books to open young readers’ eyes, in the past as well as now. Below is a copy of the letter (22 May 1985) telling my sister-in-law that the copies of Journey to Jo'burg that I had sent to my nieces and nephews had been ‘seized’.
Below are some of the different covers of the book over the years in different countries. You can see the latest covers for the UK trade and educational editions on my Journey to Jo'burg web page.
- South Africa is the focus of this year’s London Book Fair in April so an unusual number of writers from South Africa will be in London. I am one of the writers who doesn’t have to travel quite so far! I’m hoping that one event will celebrate the special ‘New Generations’ Issue 60 of Wasafiri that I guest edited with my South African writer friend Shereen Pandit. Although we were brought up in separate worlds under apartheid, books were one of the ways in which we crossed boundaries. Our issue includes 13 international writers and illustrators of children’s books remembering what they read when they were young. The most heart-breaking memory is from Benjamin Zephaniah. But it’s also the most heartening since he went on to become a writer.
- The Other Side of Truth is on a national syllabus for students of English in France and I shall be visiting students at the Lycée J B de la Salle in Rouen in May. They have a wonderfully dedicated teacher who is very persuasive and has organised a very interesting programme. I shall also be talking to other students in the region .
- S is for South Africa comes out on 1 June (published by Frances Lincoln). I’ve written 26 short poems to accompany photos by Prodeepta Das that make a South African alphabet. I’ve dedicated it to my first grandchild. She was born last year so it will be a few years before she can read and enjoy it!
- Trestle Theatre in collaboration with Blind Eye will tour a stage version of Burn My Heart in the autumn. Click here for information.
- I shall fit in a few author visits over the year but I hope to spend a good deal of time writing. I still have to complete my special project...
Some Events in 2009
This year I look forward to becoming a grandparent… and already I’m thinking of the little one’s library! There’s a great beginner pack for babes and toddlers on the Australian storyteller Mem Fox’s website
Mem believes that by the age of five, a lucky child will have listened to 5000 stories... including some that are so good that they are asked for over and over again!
Other special events are
Some Events in 2008
- I hope to spend most of my time writing this year (on a very special project) but will be taking time out to visit a number of schools, some here in the UK, some further away like the International School of Dusseldorf, and some really far away in Calgary, Alberta in Canada!
- I shall give a keynote talk ‘Ghosts have a Way of Rising: Writing the Past’ at the University of Hertfordshire, 4 April. The conference is called The Sands of Time: Children’s Literature, Culture, Politics and Identity
- Burn My Heart has been shortlisted for Calderdale’s teenage category book award and I shall meet Calderdale readers in June
- I also have a turn on a jury this year when I take part in nominating and being an advocate for an author whom I believe has made a difference to the quality of children’s literature for the NSK Neustadt Children’s Literature Prize. I have chosen to advocate Jamila Gavin with Coram Boy as her ‘representative text’!
- In June, Barrington Stoke publish Call of the Deep. One of my tales is about the Mermaid of Zennor who enticed my Cornish ancestor Mathy out to sea!
- In November I shall be at the Kaleidoscope Conference Story: Bridging Worlds
- This year I shall also guest edit with Shereen Pandit a special issue on children’s and young adult literature for the international literary journal Wasafiri in 2009
Some Events in 2007
Burn My Heart, my novel about loyalty and betrayal, set in 1950s colonial Kenya, was handed in to Puffin in June last year - on time! My story begins just before the State of Emergency when 55,000 British soldiers were sent to Kenya to fight the Mau Mau. After four decades of silence, this period is suddenly back in the news. In October 2006, lawyers in London launched a claim against the UK government on behalf of some members of the Mau Mau. Martyn Day of Leigh Day & Co, the Solicitors, says on the firm’s website:
“In the years following the second world war when the full horrors had emerged as to what the Germans and Japanese had done to their prisoners of war, it is impossible to understand how the British could set up a system of camps which would have been at home in either of those countries. It is right that the British Government should accept responsibility for the devastation of these Kenyan lives and should pay compensation for what they went through.”
The British Government is set to contest the case. It does not accept that the Colonial Office was to blame. Its lawyers will argue that the incidents took place 50 years ago and that too much time has passed for them to be able to defend the claim. The lawyers for the Mau Mau detainees will argue that this case is so important that the passage of time should not prevent it being heard. Writing Burn My Heart, I felt the past was very close. I wait keenly now for readers to enter the world of Mugo and Mathew and their two families…
Launch at South African High Commission in London, 5 July
Hear about Burn My Heart at:
A major family event this year concerns a real child rather than a ‘book child’! My webmaster son Praveen will be marrying Samantha on a distant island. Our grand-cats, Dennis and Jemima, will not be coming. Their parties usually involve field mice, baby rabbits, moles and birds…
I also look forward to research and workshops in South Africa this year for a new novel.
Other 2007 events include:
- Southampton’s Holocaust and Genocide Memorial Day, 27 January. Students from Oaklands Community School will read the letters sent between Sade and her imprisoned Papa in The Other Side of Truth
- Publication of Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak by Deborah Ellis (Frances Lincoln). I have written a Foreword to this British edition of a moving and brave little book of interviews, 1 March
- National Gallery Articulate masterclasses, March. Watch this space for my choice of painting!
- Nairn Book and Arts Festival, Highland 2007 Year of Culture, 13 –1 5 June www.nairnfestival.co.uk
- University of Exeter summer degree congregation for Education students for an Honorary Doctorate (DLitt), 11 July
- Celebrating the Carnegie with Melvin Burgess, Kevin Crossley-Holland & Beverley Naidoo, 12 August www.edbookfest.co.uk
- Carnegie Festival of Imagination, Dunfermline, 25-26 August
- "Open a Door... Open a Book...Open your Mind... to the World" - International Chilldren’s and Young Adult Literature Celebration, Wisconsin USA, 17 November
- Visits to schools in Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire, London, Oxford, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Warrington, Lancashire, County Durham
Some Events in 2006
I spent most of the first half of the year working on my new novel, set in 1950s Kenya (no title yet!) but I made time for a few events and celebrations including:
- A few readings in India - Chennai, Bangalore and Delhi – but mainly I am there to explore and learn!
To read an interview with Beverley in The Hindu by Paromita Pain, click here. See what she has to say about Tintin in the Congo.
- ‘Your World, My World’ conference, Institute of Education, 3 February
- ‘Serendipity’ conference, Vancouver, Canada, and readings to Children’s Literature Roundtables in Lethbridge, Edmonton, Calgary
A ‘neat serendipity’ meeting with Professor Margaret Mackey at University of Alberta. 23 years ago Margaret advised Longman to ‘snap up’ and publish Journey to Jo’burg when she was a teacher in London!
For more pics from the wonderful Serendipity 2006 conference at University of British Columbia, click here (and scroll down). Spot Ron Jobe, MC Extraordinaire who leads an amazing team dedicated to children's literature. Beverley and Nandha loved their warmth and enthusiasm!
- Publication of The Great Tug of War and other stories (Frances Lincoln, UK), 1 March
- 21st anniversary of first publication and launch of Journey to Jo'burg at the Africa Centre, London, 18 March 1985. The launch party was given by the British Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (BDAFSA), then a banned organisation in South Africa, and Longman Publishers. Glenys Kinnock and Edith Yengwa spoke at the launch. I shared Journey to Jo'burg's royalties with BDAFSA and the book was banned in South Africa on 22 May 1985. Sales of the book continue to benefit Canon Collins Educational Trust for Southern Africa, a charity set up by BDFSA. Click here to read about the extraordinary history of Canon Collins and the Defence and Aid Fund.
- Publication of Web of Lies (HarperCollins USA), 5 April
- Launch of New South African Plays (Aurora Metro Press) with a short reading from The Playground at Oval House Theatre, May 9th during South African Season
- Angus Book Award - Web of Lies on shortlist – 16 May
- Publication of The Playground in New South African Plays (Aurora Metro Press)
- Publication of a Mozambican fable ‘The Crocodile and the Stork’ in Lebanon, Lebanon (Saqi). All profits from the anthology go to children’s charities in Lebanon
- Visits to schools in Somerset, Dorset, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Lancashire and London
- Journey to Jo’burg visits to 8 primary and secondary schools in Hackney as part of their Diaspora project on ‘Crossroads’
- Creative writing workshops in Poplar, East London
- For an imaginative and very well planned cross-curricular project on The Other Side of Truth visit the website of Woodberry Down Primary School and click on the book’s cover. To read more about the Power of Reading programme, visit the Centre for Language in Primary Education website.
- Publication in France of Journal sous Occupation by Bassima Takrouri (La Courte échelle) . Bassima was the youngest participant in the British Council sponsored workshops that I ran with my daughter Maya at the Tamer Institute, Ramallah, in 2000. Bassima had just left school and we continued to correspond by email. Her vivid and harrowing journal includes some of our correspondence.
- Presentation of the Global Learning Award 2006 to Devon Development Education at the Development Education Association in London.
A few highlights from 2005
This year I return to novel writing but I shall make time for a few visits, including:
- Kenya in March for the Caine Prize for African Writing workshop; Greensteds/Nakuru High School; International School of Kenya, Nairobi; return visits to library projects in Mathare and Kayole…. and some exploring!
- Schools including St Michael’s Middle, Wimborne; The Green School and Teddington School, Teddington; Copthall School and Queen Elizabeth Girls’ School, Barnet; St Olave’s, Orpington; Newton Prep, London; Sir William Borlase’s Grammar School, Marlow, Buckinghamshire; De Ferrers School, Burton-on-Trent; Brayton College, Selby;Farleigh School, Hampshire; The Langton School, Canterbury; Sherborne School, Dorset; Lycée Français, London.
- Book Aid International Bookcrossing launch! See www.bookaid.org.
On 18th April authors across the UK show support for Book Aid International’s great work by leaving books in public places. We hope our books will be freely read and passed on. I shall leave a copy of Journey to Jo'burg (now 20 years old!) under the bust of Nelson Mandela on The South Bank in London. Who knows where it will travel?
- Cambridge Wordfest, 22 April 2005 www.cambridgewordfest.co.uk
- ‘Divided Communities’ with Theresa Breslin and Kate Maclachlan, Children’s Books Ireland Adult Summer School, 14 May www.childrensbooksireland.com
- Cambridge Secondary English Conference, 6 June
- CILIP Umbrella Conference, Talk: Viewing the World: The Power of ‘If’ for Young and Old, Manchester, 1 July
- Southwark Reading Groups, London, 4 July
- Education Extra, The Guardian News Room, 30 September
- International School of Geneva, Switzerland 5-7 October
- Portsmouth School Library Service; Farnham School Library Service, October
- African Visions 2005 Festival, British Library, London, 15-16 October
- De Montfort University, Bedford, 16 November
- The Barbican London Children’s Film Festival, 16 November
A few highlights from 2004
- Author visit to Kenya - includes opening Mathare North Library with Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor, 21 Feb - 2 March
- Baba's Gift, written with daughter Maya, illustrated by Karin Littlewood. Published by Penguin on World Book Day, 4 March. Beverley with students from Cape Town on Robben Island in video link to students from Ilfracombe College, Devon.... Atlantic Crossings!
- Hillingdon English Conference, 12 March
- Crossing Boundaries through Literature English Conference, Warwickshire, 19 March
- Tackling Racism through Citizenship Conference, Dorset, 25 March
- Oxford Literary Festival, with Abdul Razak Gurnah & Maya Jaggi, 28 March
- Who do we think we are? National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE) International Conference on Language and Literacy, University of Strathclyde, 2 April
- Staffordshire schools, 28-29 April
- Brighton Festival, Adopt-an-Author final event, 5 May
- Barbican Education South African Gumboots Project, London, 6-7 May & 8 July
- Schools from London to Lancashire, 16 -25 June (16th June - South African Youth Day)
- Young Voices for Change - an international videoconference, 3 September 2004 - Click Here.
- International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Conference, Cape Town, 6 - 9 September.
See www.sacbf.org.za. You can read my paper Out of bounds: ‘Witness literature’ and the challenge of crossing racialised borders by clicking on PAPERS FROM IBBY CONGRESS 2004 (see Wednesday 8th)
- Web of Lies (sequel to The Other Side of Truth) and Chain of Fire (re-issue of sequel to Journey to Jo'burg) published by Penguin, September
- The Playground at Polka Theatre, Wimbledon London. Directed by Olusola Oyeleye. October - November.
"I have based the play on a short story in Out of Bounds. Set in South Africa 1995, it is about the first black girl entering an all white school where some parents are still resisting the new laws... "
- Author visits linking to The Playground, October - November
- 2004 ended with the good news that my first stage play The Playground was designated a Time Out 2004 Critic’s Choice. Having given up most of the previous year to working on it, I was delighted!
Frances Simon as Rosa (photo by Robert Workman)
Directed by Olusola Oyeleye and designed by Phil Newman
Polka Theatre, London 23 September – 30 October 2004
A few highlights from 2003
- International School of Brussels, 24 - 27 March
- Cheltenham Festival with Liz Laird and Bernard Ashley, 5 April
- The Other Side of Truth, (adapted by the author) The Afternoon Play Radio 4, 22 April
- Receiving Doctor of the University from The Open University, Cardiff, 3 May. Beverley was
presented for her degree by Peter Barnes from the University's Centre for
Childhood. To read more click here.
- Poetry Reading to accompany Exodus: Photographs by Sebastião Salgado (with Olusola Oyeleye, Grace Nichols and John Agard) Barbican Gallery, London, 7 May. More information at www.barbican.org.uk
- International School of Lausanne, 13-15 May
- United Kingdom Reading Association Conference, Cambridge, 12 July
- Writing for Young People, Arvon Foundation, Shropshire with Writer/Theatre director Olusola Oyeleye and Guest Writer Alan Gibbons, 21 - 25 July. More information from www.arvonfoundation.org or email@example.com
- Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Kristiansand, Norway, 9 - 14 August
- Children’s Literature New England’s Institute What a Gamble Friendship Is! , Newnham College, Cambridge, 17 - 20 August
- Beverley Naidoo and Deborah Ellis (author of The Breadwinner and Parvanna’s Journey), Edinburgh Festival, 24 August. More information from www.edbookfest.co.uk
- Children’s Book Week in Guernsey, 6-10 October
- African Visions 2003, Chair at event with Tsitsi Dangaremba, Lilia Momple and Assia Djebar, The Voice Box, Festival Hall London, 21 October
- SPEAK! An evening of readings with Harold Pinter, Beverley Naidoo, Monica Ali, Hari Kunzru and Diran Adebayo organised by the Refugee Council, Thursday 23 October, 6.30pm, St Paul's, The Actor's Church, Covent Garden London.
- Reading is Magic - Dorset Teacher’s Conference, Bovington Middle School, Wareham, 8 November
A few highlights from 2002
- Visit to libraries and Youth Library Groups in Scotland, 23-25 January
- Reading the World - with Jamila Gavin, Bath Literature Festival, Saturday 9 March (information from firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Teenagers and politics - small 'p', Federation of Children's Book Groups Annual Conference, Marlborough College, Wiltshire, 23 March
- Readings and talks at East Asia Regional Council of Overseas Schools in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 28-30 March, followed by visit to Australia
- Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, 27-28 April, where The Other Side of Truth is shortlisted for the LA Times Young Adult Fiction Award
- Brighton Festival: The Roald Dahl Platform Debate Absent Parents (with Anne Fine, Nina Bawden, Nicholas Tucker) Pavilion Theatre, Saturday 4th May 6pm; solo event Pavilion Theatre, Sunday 5th May 11am.
- The Guardian Hay Festival 2002 Hay-on-Wye, with Celia Rees, 2pm Thursday June 6. Information at www.hayfestival.co.uk
- South African Youth Day workshop at Ilfracombe College, North Devon, June 17th
- PEN Readers and Writers day with Year 6, St Bernard's R.C. Primary School, Burnage, Manchester, 5 July
- Visit to Peckham Library, London, to include handing over £500 'Carnegie' cheque from the Youth Libraries Group to the library of my choice - 12 July
- Gordonbrock Primary School, London, 12 July - Leavers' evening for Year 6 who dramatised The Other Side of Truth for Holocaust Day memorial at Lewisham Theatre in January.
- Receiving honorary Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from University of Southampton, 23 July
Beverley receiving her degree from The Earl of Selborne, the Chancellor of
the University of Southampton. If you would like to read the citation, click here.
Photograph by Tempest
- Magic Carpets: an International Perspective on Children's Books, Children's Writers and Illustrators Group Conference, Leeds, 13-15 September
- The Word Festival, Polka Theatre for Children, Wimbledon, Sunday 29 September. For more information contact email@example.com
- IBBY World Congress, Basle Switzerland, to receive Honour List diploma for The Other Side of Truth, 1 October
- 2002 Jane Addams Book Award for The Other Side of Truth (older children category) at Jane Addams Peace Association, New York, 18 October. For information about this interesting award visit www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/public/jaddams.htm.
- Welsh Books Council Children's Books Conference, Aberystwyth, 1 November
few highlights from 2001
- The Other Side of Truth awarded the Carnegie Medal for 2000. The award is made annually by The Library Association (www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk) for 'an outstanding book for children and young people'.
Lauren Child (left) won the 2000 Kate Greenaway Award for illustration and Nigella Lawson gave us our prizes.
- Out of Bounds (with Foreword by Archbishop Desmond Tutu) is launched at St Martin's in the Fields, London, and at Archbishop Lanfranc School.
Talking with students at Archbishop Lanfranc, Croydon, London
- Penguin reissues No Turning Back as part of their 21 Classics for the 21st Century
- Author visit to Amman, Jordan including a workshop with Palestinian refugee students at their UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) school - organised by the British Council. .
Students at Nuzha 1 School for Girls in Amman during the workshop
Listening to Matar Saqer, UNRWA Public Information Officer
My husband Nandha answered questions too
To read my account of this very moving visit, click here
Some highlights from 2000
"For twenty-seven years, from the time I arrived in England, I took part in anti-apartheid protests outside the South African Embassy. This celebration of my first children's book, which was banned by the apartheid government, was my first time going inside the building!"
Book Week in Cyprus: a week of story telling, readings and workshops centered at Highgate Primary School, Nicosia
- Celebration of Collins Modern Classic edition of Journey to Jo'burg at the South African High Commission in London.
Readings, talks and creative writing workshops in Palestine, organised by the British Council, East Jerusalem
Click here to read the article I wrote after my reading tour in Palestine
Publication of The Other Side of Truth and Smarties Silver Medal Award. The prize was overshadowed by the tragic killing of 10-year-old Nigerian schoolboy Damilola Taylor in South London. His complaints of bullying carried strong echoes of events in the novel.