Julia Donaldson - Simon Puttock, Vivian French and Guy Bass on the new Children’s Laureate
- Nicola Meighan
- 9 August 2011
This article is from 2011.
Author events set for 2011 Edinburgh Book Festival
‘Julia Donaldson is unique in the nicest way,’ says former Book Festival Children’s Writer in Residence Vivian French. ‘She’s passionate about stories, whether in the form of books, songs or plays, and her enthusiasm is infectious.’ French is ‘delighted’ about Donaldson’s recent appointment as Children’s Laureate, and believes the creator of magical tales like The Gruffalo is the ideal candidate. ‘She can persuade even the starchiest of teachers to be a snail or a whale, and they end up enjoying every minute. If anyone can give children and adults a genuine love of books, Julia will.’
French – author of popular children’s series such as The Tiara Club – will lead EIBF youth drama workshop ‘Curtain Up!’ alongside Donaldson and award-winning picture book writer Simon Puttock. He too is heartened by Donaldson’s literary assignment. ‘Every now and then I meet someone who is more than happy to admit complete ignorance of that fact that picture books can actually have writers,’ he says. ‘I’m therefore delighted that a writer of predominantly picture books is our new laureate. If we neglect to instil a love of books and of story in each new generation right from the start, we are pretty well sunk.’
In her role as a Guest Selector this year, Donaldson has devised a programme that celebrates literature as a dynamic art form, featuring interaction, drama, illustration and song. It’s an approach that’s set to resonate throughout her laureateship. ‘It’s great that Julia is focusing on performance during her tenure,’ says acclaimed children’s author and playwright Guy Bass. ‘I got into writing through drama – it’s a wonderful, often overlooked way in to reading and storytelling. She’s done so much to inspire confidence in children already. And she can sing! What more could you ask for in a Children’s Laureate?’