News & views

Some highlights from 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

  • Publication of Burn My Heart in the USA

    It has been getting starred reviews and I’m glad that some reviewers recognise how the story echoes today. Recently, it also came out that Barack Obama’s grandfather was one of the many thousands of Kenyans imprisoned by the British when they crushed the Mau Mau resistance.

  • Issue 60 of Wasafiri, guest edited by Shereen Pandit and myself, will be devoted to international writing for young people. We’ve looked across the world for contributors who are passionate and informed about what is happening in literature for children and young adults. We have a splendid line up of articles, new fiction, poetry, interviews and reviews. It’s been a labour of love and, who knows, it may well become a collector’s item.
  • I shall continue to work on the ‘special project’ I mentioned last year. Once I’ve completed it, I’ll say what it is.
  • I shall hand in my texts for two new picture books for young children to Frances Lincoln, publishers of The Great Tug of War. ‘An African Aesop’ is ready, hooray! South African artist Piet Grobler will illustrate this one too with his lively, witty pictures.
  • I shall revisit the International School of Dusseldorf (old friends now!) as well as making visits to some schools here in Britain. I look forward to working with Denbighshire’s ‘Writing Squad’ in North Wales and performing at Birmingham Young Readers’ Festival.