Thursday 27 November 2008

The Eleanor Farjeon Award and Meg Rosoff On Writers and Real Work

Yes, that is Meg Rosoff of Where I Live Now fame. No, Meg Rosoff is not praying. Actually her reverential head is bowed not over the good book but a sampling of her internet activity on a normal working day which includes Dog Drinking Water in Slow Motion and Obama Lama on YouTube.

This was just to make the point that some people do REAL work ... and that writers aren't those people. People who do real work are folks like Chris Brown, the head teacher who's made it his life's mission to get books and children together.

Chris Brown. The blurry pics from my mobile do seem to enhance the saintliness of this worthy winner.

Last night, Chris was awarded the 2008 Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to the world of children's books "given to someone whose commitment and contribution is deemed to be outstanding". The spirit of the award is "to recognise the unsung heroes who contribute so much to every aspect of children's books." In his acceptance speech, Chris read a story by Eleanor Farjeon to violin music. Achingly beautiful!

The nominees included Elizabeth Hammill and Mary Briggs (pictured right after the awards), a former bookseller and librarian respectively, who together launched the Northern Children's Festival and then proceeded to set up the Seven Stories Centre for Children's Books in Newcastle in 2005 - an incredible feat which proves that yes, it is possible for entire buildings to be built on foundations of love. Well, love and hardcore fundraising. I'm sure it's only a matter of time before Elizabeth and Mary collect their award from the Eleanor Farjeon Trust!

Other nominees were Michael Morpurgo for his work with children in the countryside, and David Wood who has written over 60 plays for children and was dubbed 'the national children's dramatist' by the Times.

And so, dripping with inspiration, let us end this blog post by revisiting one tiny corner of Meg Rosoff's work process:

If you can't see this video, here it is on YouTube


  1. Having worked as a teacher for ten years and as a children's writer for twenty five, I can tell you that writing is real work. And it's important. Without children's writers, there would be no new readers and the world of letters would soon come tumbling down around our ears.

  2. absolutely. writing is work. but it is also fun. i sometimes feel guilty that i am enjoying my work.


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