IBBY UK Chair’s Report 2013-2014
After the hectic International Congress year of 2012/2013, it was perhaps likely that this year would be a little quieter. Nevertheless, we have continued to make progress with our plans to strengthen IBBY UK and extend our activities. Perhaps the main achievements this year have been the launch of the new and much improved website, and awarding of three IBBY UK bursaries to help members attend the 2014 International Congress this September in Mexico. IBBYLink has continued to thrive under Ferelith’s new editorship, and we held another successful conference last November in cooperation with NCRCL.
New IBBY UK website and newsletter
One of our plans for using the surplus funds from the London Congress was to create a new website. The site was launched in the autumn of last year and, with a dedicated members area, will serve as a shop window for our work, a way of keeping us up-to-date with events in the children’s book world, and a means for members to follow the UK Committee’s plans throughout the year as we upload reports and minutes of meetings to the members area. Pam Dix has worked closely with Nigel Smith, our website designer, to get the site up and running, and it is edited by Sophie Hallam, a new member of the UK Committee. We will also be issuing more regular newsletters to members as we update the website with fresh content.
In 2013, Ferelith Hordon took over as editor from Pat Pinsent and joined Jennifer Harding and the reviews editor, Sue Mansfield, on the editorial team. There have been three issues of IBBYLink in 2013/14: IBBYLink 37, Children’s Literature in Ireland, featuring an interview with Niamh Sharkey, the Irish Children’s Laureate; IBBYLink 38, Picture Books for Older Readers; and IBBYLink 39, Feast or Famine, Food in Children’s Literature, a record of the November 2013 Conference. Like the November Conference itself, IBBYLink continues to take an eclectic and inclusive approach to children’s books, aiming to provide something of interest to those with an academic interest as well as those who work directly in the production of the books or with the parents and children who read them.
The IBBY UK and NCRCL Conference November 2013
The November Conference this year was on the subject of Feast or Famine: Food in Children’s Literature. Our thanks to the Conference Organising Committee and, in particular, Ann Lazim, to Lisa Sainsbury and the staff at NCRCL, and to all the speakers, workshop leaders and participants for a stimulating day. The Conference celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Tiger Who Came to Tea and we were pleased to welcome Judith Kerr to cut the celebration cake; our thanks go to John Dunne for his role in organising Judith’s appearance. At the conference, we were also able to make a presentation to the long-time IBBY UK Committee member and IBBYLink editor, Pat Pinsent.
IBBY UK bursaries for attendance at the Mexico Congress
This was another of our innovations to make effective use of the Congress surplus. We advertised two bursaries to support members attending the International Congress in Mexico this September. We had eleven applications. The selection panel was myself, Sue Mansfield (Treasurer of the 2012 Congress) and, as independent member, Gillian Lathey (former Director of the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature). It had been intended to offer two bursaries, but the field was so strong that the panel awarded three: to Sophie Hallam, Osman Coban and Beth Cox. Sophie and Beth have since joined the IBBY UK Committee.
We are also supporting two members of the IBBY UK Committee to attend the Congress: Ferelith Hordon and Pam Dix. This gives us a five strong delegation to the Congress.
IBBY UK Christmas Card 2013/2014
Under the able organisation of John and Hilary Dunne, the IBBY Christmas card continues to be both great publicity and a significant source of income. For the first time this Christmas we had a card specifically designed for us by the ever-generous and greatly gifted Jackie Morris. We were also able to offer both individual and mixed packs of our previous cards. These were sold by mail order and at the David Almond evening and the YLG Conference last September, the November Conference, and the Federation of Children’s Books Conference this April. For 2014/2015, we look forward to a card specially designed by Axel Scheffler.
Laureate, Andersen Award and Honour Book nominations
I am pleased to report that Malorie Blackman, our author nomination for Children’s Laureate 2013-2015, was, on this occasion, successful. John Burningham, our nomination again for the Andersen illustrator award 2014, was once more shortlisted. Dame Jacqueline Wilson, was, unfortunately, not shortlisted for the author award. The 2014 winners were Japanese author Nahoko Uehashi and Brazilian illustrator Roger Mello. I would like to thank all of those involved in the compilation of our dossiers on John and Dame Jacqueline for the Andersen awards: Carol Thompson, Ferelith Hordon and John Dunne. I should also like to thank John and Dame Jacqueline’s publishers for their cooperation and help in compiling the dossiers and supplying copies of the books to the international jury.
Our nominations for the IBBY Honour Books this year were: for writing, Frank Cottrell Boyce, The Unforgotten Coat, Walker Books, 2011; for illustration: Sarah Garland, Azzi in Between, Frances Lincoln Children's Books, 2012; and for translation: Howard Curtis, In The Sea There Are Crocodiles, Random House/David Fickling Books, 2012 (author: Fabio Geda). Here the thanks go to Ann Lazim, Michele Gill, Carol Thompson and Pam Dix for their roles in the nomination process.
We have been steadily increasing our contribution to IBBY internationally. During this last year, IBBY Outstanding Books for Children with Disabilities 2013 was published, including three of our nominated titles. Eight wordless picturebooks from British publishers were included in the collection used in the IBBY Italia Silent Books project on the island of Lampedusa. And we have contributed British section news to two European IBBY newsletters.
IBBY UK raised £543 for the IBBY Lebanon project working with Syrian refugee families. This was mainly through raffles and donations at the YLG and the November Conferences, including the donation of a limited edition print of her Christmas card design by illustrator Jackie Morris and a complete set of the folio edition of the Susan Cooper fantasy sequence donated by IBBY member Ellen Ainsworth. Our thanks go especially to Jackie and Ellen; to the YLG Conference Committee and to those IBBY UK members and Committee members who helped with the raffles, particularly Susan Bailes, Judith Philo, Diana Barnes and Ferelith Hordon.
We have nominated Ferelith Hordon to serve on the IBBY Executive, the election for which will be held at the Mexico Congress. If elected, Ferelith would be the first British member of the international Executive for some years.
“Twinning” with the Philippines Board on Books for Young People
One of our aims following the 2012 World Congress was to develop links with a children’s books organisation in a developing country. In the autumn of 2013, we began a conversation with the Philippines Board on Books for Young People, which had formerly been a member of IBBY and with whom we had some contacts through the author Candy Gourlay, a Filipino living in London. However, the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda interrupted us, and in the next year we need to pick up where we left off.
IBBY Author Event: An evening with David Almond to mark the fifteenth anniversary edition of Skellig
Last September, in cooperation with Books for Keeps and Hodder Books, we hosted an evening of David Almond in conversation with Erica Wagner, the literary editor of The Times. The highly successful evening attracted an audience of over sixty including IBBY members Jackie Morris and Margaret Meek Spencer. Here we need to thank the staff at Hodder, John Dunne of IBBY and Andrea Reece of Books for Keeps.
Robert Leeson (1928-2014)
Before I conclude the report, I should mention the sad news of the death of Robert Leeson in September last year. As well as being a talented and influential author and critic, and a tireless promoter of children’s books in schools, Bob Leeson was a great supporter of IBBY and had served on the UK Committee in a number of capacities. Myself, John Dunne and Ferelith Hordon were privileged to attend his funeral on behalf of IBBY.
IBBY UK Committee and changes in 2013/2014
At the last AGM in April 2013, members of the UK Committee were Clive Barnes (Chair), John Dunne (Secretary), Susan Bailes (Vice-Chair), Pam Dix (Treasurer), Judith Philo (Minutes Secretary), Michele Gill, Jennifer Harding, Ferelith Hordon, Ann Lazim, Anna McQuinn, Sue Mansfield and Carol Thompson.
During the year, we co-opted Sophie Hallam, Beth Cox and Nikki Marsh, who have been very busy, and we hope that the AGM will confirm them as committee members.
These are indeed my final remarks, since I am stepping down as Chair. I have felt privileged to be in that position for the last four years and I would like to thank all the members of the UK Committee in that time, some now retired, for their help, support and hard work. Without wanting to single anyone out, I would like especially to thank John Dunne and Pam Dix, our Secretary and Treasurer respectively, who have through their roles necessarily played a very large part.
From the 2012 Congress year, in particular, I would like to record a special thanks to the co-directors of the 2012 International Congress, Kathy Lemaire and Ann Lazim; to the Congress Treasurer, Sue Mansfield; and to Kathleen Milne, a very active member of the IBBY UK Committee and the Congress Organising Committee before moving to Scotland.
Clive Barnes, Chair IBBY UK, May 2014.