Ahlberg to deliver Philippa Pearce Lecture

Ahlberg to deliver Philippa Pearce Lecture

Bestselling picture book author Allan Ahlberg will deliver this year’s Philippa Pearce Lecture, celebrating excellence in children’s writing.

The title of the talk, which will take place in Cambridge on 1st September, will be:

“John Wayne and Sibelius
Train Has Rain In It
A Rigmarole
in seven
or possibly eleven parts
with readings from
Marilynne Robinson
William Maxwell
William Strunk, Jr.
The Guardian newspaper
The Shorter Oxford
(some singing)”

Born in 1938, Ahlberg is the author of more than a hundred books for children, including the CILIP Greenaway Medal winning titles Each Peach Pear Plum and The Jolly Postman, both created with his late wife Janet.

Dr Louise Joy, treasurer of the Philippa Pearce Lecture organising committee, said: "Given by distinguished authors and illustrators for children, the lectures aim to inspire reflection and debate about issues at the heart of children's literature today. We are delighted that this year's speaker will be the multi-award-winning Allan Ahlberg, whose virtuoso work across an astonishing range of genres has given joy to successive generations of readers, young and old."

Ahlberg was longlisted for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) for outstanding commitment to children’s literature in 2016 and in 2014 turned down a lifetime achievement award.

He rejected the inaugural BookTrust Best Book Awards‘ Lifetime Achievement Award because it was sponsored by Amazon. Ahlberg said he felt compelled to take the stand because of Amazon’s tax avoidance in the UK.

The Philippa Pearce lectures were set up in 2007 by the family and friends of Pearce, who was the author of books such as Tom’s Midnight Garden and A Dog So Small. Previous speakers include Meg Rosoff (2015), Malorie Blackman (2012) and Philip Pullman (2011).

The lectures are free and funded by donations.