Chris Riddell named new Children’s Laureate

Illustrator Chris Riddell has been named as the new Children’s Laureate, taking over from author Malorie Blackman, who has held the post since 2013. Awarded every two years and managed by Book Trust, the post celebrates outstanding achievement in the field of children’s books, and bestows upon the recipient a bursary of £15,000 and a silver medal. Riddell is the first illustrator to hold the post since Anthony Browne, who was Children’s Laureate from 2009 to 2011.

Riddell says of his appointment:

I am humbled to take on this role after the giants that have come before me. I want to put the joy of creativity, of drawing every day, of having a go and being surprised at what one can achieve with just a pencil and an idea at the heart of my term as Laureate. I want to make sure people have fun whilst addressing fundamental issues I care about passionately.

Those ‘giants’ are Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, and the aforementioned Browne and Blackman, all of whom have held the post since its inception in 1999. Each Laureate chooses particular aspects of children’s books that they would like to promote – Riddell has decided to focus on ‘[using] the immediacy and universality of illustration to bring people together and lead them all into the wonderful world of books and reading, whilst championing creativity in schools and beyond.’

Riddell has illustrated more than 100 children’s books, twice winning the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustrating (for his work on Richard Platt’s Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter and Martin Jenkins’ retelling of Swift, Gulliver) and once again shortlisted for Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. He has also written numerous books for children, starting with 1998’s Mr Underbed. He won the 2013 Costa children’s book award for his Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse.

Riddell will now hold the post of Children’s Laureate until 2017.

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