50th Eleanor Farjeon Award given to John Agard

50th Eleanor Farjeon Award given to John Agard

The Eleanor Farjeon Award, now in its 50th year, was given to children’s poet John Agard.

Founded in 1966 and administered by the Children’s Book Circle, the Eleanor Farjeon Award celebrates exceptional contributions to children’s books. Agard was chosen as this year’s winner because he has “inspired a deep passion for poetry in children and teens for over two decades”, according to the prize organisers.

Farjeon was a children’s author, poet and playright. She also wrote the words to the hymn Morning Has Broken.

Agard said: “I was honoured and happy to receive the Eleanor Farjeon Award, first for sentimental reasons, as the words of Morning Has Broken (the Cat Stevens version, I must admit) took me back to my hippy days in Georgetown, Guyana. It wasn't until moving to Britain years later I came to realise that her words had been almost part of my folk memory. It was also nice to receive an award named after a poet who saw a book as a magic box, a bookshelf as a 'magic casement,' while celebrating the oral pulse throbbing in the music of words.”

Previous winners of the award include David Almond and the Polka Theatre.