Outside in World x Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing – Their Work in Reading

by | Feb 9, 2024 | Blog

Sophie Heywood is an associate professor in French at the University of Reading (UK), where she is also one of the co-directors of The Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (CBCP). She works with colleagues from different languages, literatures and specialists in book design, typography, and business to undertake research in book cultures and publishing with a distinctive global, multilingual, and multidisciplinary focus. There are quite a few researchers within the CBCP who specialise in children’s literature, including Professor Sue Walker in Typography.

Heywood’s research uses publishers’ archives to investigate the history of children’s books and how they are made: who gets to tell these stories and why? What happens when such materials have been imported from different languages and cultures? Which books get translated, and which do not? She is currently completing a book manuscript, entitled Children’s Publishing in Cold War France: Hachette in the Age of Surveillance and Control, which is under contract with Bloomsbury Academic, in their Perspectives in Children’s Literature series. For a list of her projects and publications, see her staff profile at the University of Reading here.

Given their research interests, Heywood was excited to learn about Outside in World’s (OIW) work and their collection of international children’s and young adult books that have been translated from their original language into English. One of the first things they did was apply for funding to secure a PhD student, Emma Page, to carry out research using the OIW’s collections.


Emma Page says they are “very lucky to be involved in the incredible work the CBCP and OIW are doing to advance awareness and understanding of children’s books in English translation.” Her PhD, which is funded by the AHRC’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership, explores the vibrant group of organisations and individuals who advocate for international children’s books in the UK today. OIW and their colleagues at organisations like IBBY and World Kid Lit have been doing important work for decades promoting all kinds of diversity in children’s books, fostering an appreciation for the power of multilingualism, and simply bringing the best books from around the world to children in Britain. “It’s exciting to bring an academic perspective to their work, especially with the support of the CBCP’s multidisciplinary approach to book cultures.”

A joint CBCP x OIW webinar series ‘Explorations in Translation for Children’ was launched in December 2020, with an illuminating survey ‘Around the World in 18 Books: An introduction to literary translation in children’s and YA publishing’ by translator and WorldKidLit founder, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp. They aimed to create a platform for sharing ideas, hearing about current projects, and learning more about how creators, curators, and educators are advancing how books are translated and shared. It is deliberately broad and spans multiple sectors so that they can hear from the diverse voices and groups involved in this field: from researchers and educators to publishers, translators, librarians, curators, students, and activists.

The topics for webinars so far have been a rich and inclusive mix, covering translators in schools, exhibitions on picture books in translation, new books in translation (from poetry to graphic novels), research projects on gender in translation, multisensory translation, and the influence of British children’s literature on the Japanese anime films of Studio Ghibli.

Running the webinar series online has allowed the CBCP and OIW to bring in international speakers to share projects from different languages and regions. It has also enabled them to create a virtual hub, to bring together people with a shared interest in translating for children, from multiple continents and time zones. The talks are all recorded and available online to enable as wide access as possible – they can be accessed here.



Edited and Uploaded By Rhiannon Jelley.