Dame Jacqueline Wilson is to be presented with this year’s J M Barrie Award for “a lifetime of unforgettable writing for children”.
The award, now in its 11th year, will be presented by Action for Children’s Arts tomorrow (5th November) at a ceremony hosted by the BBC at the Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House.
The J M Barrie prize is awarded annually by Action for Children’s Arts to a children’s arts practitioner whose work, in the view of ACA, will “stand the test of time”. Previous recipients have included Quentin Blake, Lynne Reid Banks, Bernard Cribbins, Shirley Hughes, Floella Benjamin, Oliver Postgate and Peter Firmin, and Roger McGough.
Wilson is best known for characters such as Tracy Beaker and the Victorian foundling child, Hetty Feather, that have sold over 38m copies of her books in the UK and been translated into 34 different languages. She was Children’s Laureate from 2005 to 2007 when she spearheaded a campaign to encourage parents and carers to read aloud to children, and she was awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to literacy in schools, followed by a DBE in 2008. She is currently Chancellor of Roehampton University where she is also visiting professor of Children’s Literature.
Nick Sharratt, Wilson’s long-standing illustrator, will give a tribute to Wilson as part of the ceremony accompanied by the present and previous Children’s Laureates. Malorie Blackman OBE, Laureate from 2013 to 2015, will read the citation for the award and Chris Riddell, the current Children's Laureate, will present the award. Other icons of children’s literature present in the audience will include Michelle Magorian, Lynne Reid Banks, Jamila Gavin and Jan Pienkowski.
Action for Children’s Arts will also present a range of awards for excellence in Children’s Arts including an Outstanding Contribution Award to Sir Ken Robinson, an advocate for creativity in education, whose talk, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” is the most viewed in the history of TED. He also recently authored Creative Schools (Allen Lane).
David Wood OBE, chair of ACA said: “Children are the future. The arts practitioners who specialise in entertaining and inspiring them and triggering their imaginations deserve, Action for Children’s Arts believes, public recognition. This is the 11th year of the J M Barrie Awards. We are proud to honour Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Ken Robinson and our Members’ Award winners. They are all brightly-shining beacons in the vibrant world of children’s arts.”
Annie Eaton, publisher for fiction at Penguin Random House Children’s Books, added: “There have been many deserving recipients of the ACA award, and Jacqueline's work and achievements make her an absolutely brilliant choice for the award this year. She is an inspiration to us all, and adored and admired in equal measure!”