News & views

Some highlights from 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.