One of Britain’s leading human rights campaigners and former director of political pressure group Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti, has joined the judging panel for this year’s Book Trust Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chakrabarti joins an esteemed panel alongside poet John Agard, How to Train Your Dragon (Hodder) author and illustrator Cressida Cowell, Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, BookTrust chief executive Diana Gerald and literary journalist Nicolette Jones.
The prize is awarded to any UK children’s writer or illustrator who has "produced a substantial body of work that has made an outstanding contribution to children’s books," with the winner of the prize’s third edition to be announced in a ceremony on 6th July.
Chair of judges, Nicolette Jones, said: “I’m delighted that Booktrust introduced this important accolade, and am extremely proud to chair such a distinguished panel... We are also privileged to have among us experienced children’s book prize judge, Shami Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty.
“We are fortunate to have so many first-class writers and artists in the world of children’s books, whose skill, imagination and wisdom have earned them the affection of generations of readers. The task of choosing will not be easy.”
Diana Gerald, Book Trust chief executive, added: “It is so important to recognise the works of prolific children’s authors and illustrators. We can’t overemphasise the importance of exposing children to wonderful books by wonderful people, because we know that enjoying reading is so important in terms of confidence, attainment, building imagination and wellbeing. Choosing our second Lifetime Achievement Award winner will be challenging as there are so many cherished writers and illustrators, but I know we will have great fun reading some fantastic books.”
Shirley Hughes was last year’s winner for her Dogger and Alfie stories.