Sir Philip Pullman CBE has accepted the 2019 Action for Children’s Arts J M Barrie Award, a lifetime accolade bestowed on the author for his "outstanding talent as a storyteller who appeals to all ages, especially to the young".
The ceremony at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London last night (7th November), following the announcement Pullman had won the prize in March earlier this year. The J M Barrie Award is given annually "in recognition of a lifetime’s achievement in delighting children", with previous winners including Sir Michael Morpurgo, Bernard Cribbins and Baroness Floella Benjamin.
When asked how it felt to win the JM Barrie Award, Pullman said "it's like joining a special club of people from across the arts".
Vicky Ireland, chair of Action for Children’s Arts, said then, "Philip Pullman’s stories go a great way in inspiring his readers to test their emotions and develop their imaginations in the most marvellous way possible. What better way to recognise and celebrate this lovely man’s talent, than with a lifetime accolade."
Pullman was seen receiving the award, presented by two child-fans, Albee and Noah, in the company of attendees including Jack Thorne and Jane Tranter, the creators of the new BBC/HBO series "His Dark Materials", which premiered on British television last week.
Also in attendance were actors Imelda Staunton and Jim Carter alongside Action for Children's Arts patrons including Michael Foreman and Anna Home OBE.
During the ceremony British novelist Amanda Craig talked about Pullman's life and work, including his latest bestseller, the second in The Book of Dust series, The Secret Commonwealth (Penguin/David Fickling), which published on 3rd October 2019.
Action for Children's Arts also presented awards to Breathe Arts Health Research, Amanda Glover, Magic Lantern and Leeds Lieder.
The awards are also an opportunity for Action for Children's Arts to fundraise for its campaigns. The charity has been campaigning for equal access to arts education since 1998, and is currently piloting the Arts Backpack UK – a scheme offering every UK primary school child access to five quality arts experiences a year. The pilots will be taking place in Fife, Leicester and London from January 2020.