Thursday, March 31, 2011

And we're back!

So we are, after some very intensive but very fantastic time up in the French Alps. As mentionned before, I was invited to a book festival and fair in Ugine in Savoie where I also had the opportunity to visit no less than 10 classes in different schools.

Said schools are planted on the side of mountains with views you wouldn't believe (which is why I photographed some of them) and are usually quite small with a couple (sometimes literally) of multi-level classes, which seems to suit everybody.

We chatted books, writing, ideas, cats, chocolate and fantasy for two days and a great time was had by all (I think).
And yes, there were some local cheeses, snow bikes and snow shoes involved too. Sadly, I can't find the pics for those...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Library of the Early Mind

It's a documentary film, it's got Mo Willems and Lois Lowry in it, and it looks wow!
Check out the blog for trailer, screening dates and stuff!

Library of the Early Mind is a feature-length documentary film exploring children's literature, directed and co-produced by Edward J. Delaney and co-produced by Steven Withrow.

Plot Outline: An exploration of the art and impact of children’s literature on our kids, our culture, and ourselves. From the first stories we hear told to us to those childhood heroes who stay with us a lifetime, the impact on our culture runs deeper than what we might expect. Featuring nearly 40 prominent authors, artists, and critics.

Busy month

This is a busy time of year for the kidlit-minded in general and me in particular. The Bologna Ragazzi Fair is just round the corner, while the Paris Book Fair is practically upon us (opens on Thursday). As for myself, I will be in Paris (for a bit of literary shopping) and then in Ugine in the French Alps for a couple (12!) of school events and a two-day festival involving signing, crosscountry-skiing and perhaps a spa.
Busy, I tell you!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wizardly stamps

The Royal Mail has just released its new series of stamps, inspired by the great witches and wizards of British folklore and literature. Merlin, Morgan Le Fay, Dumbledore, Aslan and the like will now help postmen the world over in their daily deliveries. Magic!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Shocking pink and lonely beasts

Who said writing or illustrating were always a lonely business? The folks at Children's Books Ireland have cooked up a deadly programme for their next conference to show the world how collaborations can and do work when it comes to creating great books.
The conference will be held in the National Library on the 21st and 22nd of May and here's who you can expect to hear:
Jane Davis, Helen Oxenbury, John Burningham, David Lloyd, Keith Gray, Mary Byrne, Liz Page, Garrett Carr, Judi Curtin, John Newman, Sheena Wilkinson, Philip Ardagh, Louise Rennison, Áine Ní Ghlinn, Karen Bertrams, Emma Byrne, Chris Judge, Steve Simpson, Chris Haughton, Robert Dunbar and Derek Landy

More info here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The 2011 Bisto shortlist!

And so, here it is! 10 brilliant books, more than half of them with plenty of pictures. For what us jury thought about each of the finalists, head over the CBI website here.

The 10 shortlisted titles are:
Dancing in the Dark, by PR Prendergast

The Heart and The Bottle, by Oliver Jeffers
Tiny Little Fly, illustrated by Kevin Waldron
A Bit Lost, by Chris Haugthon
Taking Flight, by Sheena Wilkinson
The Lunatic's Curse, by F.E. Higgins
The Owl and the Pussycat, illustrated by Kevin Waldron
Prim Improper, by Deirdre Sullivan
Mac Rí Eireann, by Caitríona Hastings and Andrew Whitson
Up and Down, by Oliver Jeffers

Friday, March 4, 2011

Coming up next: The Bisto shortlist

More exciting than the Oscars and the general election (combined), the announcement of the shortlisted titles in competition for the Bisto Children's Book of the Year Award will take place this coming Monday 7 March. In the meantime, you can make your own predictions or check other people's prophecies. Here are David's and Sarah's. In any case, do come back here on Monday for Announcements, Revelations and Suchlike!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why we do what we do...

Remember I mentionned Berlin Fang, a literary translator I met at Annaghmakerrig last year? We had great conversations about the job of translator and recently Berlin wrote a post on about just that. For a fascinating (and inspiring, and comforting!) answer to the question of this post's title, just click.
You will find out why we shouldn't do it:
"At present, most publishers pay about 65-100 yuan ($10-15) per thousand words for literary translation, no matter how good you are. You know that words are cheap because the rate has remained at this level for decades. The rate is so pathetic that I once considered giving up translation in pursuit of a career as a pig farmer."

... and why we do it anyway:

"It's my secret dream that one day or one night, a Chinese author reads a book I have translated and bangs on the desk: "I didn't know that novels can be written like this! I can do that!" There, the circle of life for writers goes on."

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What's a classic?

A lovely day was that ISSCL conference, so it was, so it was. A great line up of speakers from far and near, a brand new building, some fancy cookies and a heap of food for thoughts.
Here are a few tidbits:
  • is a classic a book that keeps being retold, rewritten and generally adapted in many shapes and guises?
  • is it a book to which different people bring different things and from which they take away different things?
  • do we still read Shakespeare today because his themes are still relevant or is it his language that makes him 'immortal' (so far)?
  • why did Mole uncork his beer?
  • why don't we wear powdered wigs anymore?
  • why does British (and Irish) children's literature view the countryside so positively and depict cities as hell or dangerous forest that one had better keep away from?
  • why does American kidlit do exactly the opposite?
  • what's in the Pollard collection in Trinity?
  • what's the percentage of teachers in training who have read Where the Wild Things Are?
  • who ate all the cookies?

[Thanks for the pic, Alice!]