FROM YOUR EDITORS Welcome Lauren Child, the new Children’s Laureate!

As writer/illustrator Lauren Child takes over the role of Children’s Laureate from Chris Riddell, Claire Watts reflects on her career and the Laureateship. 

Let’s give a huge SCBWI shout-out to the new Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, multi-award-winning writer and illustrator of the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean picture books and Ruby Redfort novels.

Describing Lauren, the Chair of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate Steering Group, Abigail Campbell, called her:
utterly brilliant … witty, innovative and absolutely unique. 
As a parent who has worn out Lauren’s books with my children, a librarian who has seen children’s eyes light up when shown her books and a bibliophile who finds herself awed by the sheer creativity of Lauren’s work, I could not agree more.

The role of Laureate 

Reflecting on the role, which she’ll hold until 2019, Lauren said:
I want to inspire children to believe in their own creative potential, to make their own stories and drawings and ignite in them the delight of reaching for pleasure.

The idea for the Children’s Laureate originated in a conversation between the then Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children’s writer Michael Morpurgo. The role of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate is awarded every two years to celebrate and recognise the important contribution children’s literature makes to cultural life. BookTrust manages the award and Waterstones is the lead sponsor for the post. The Laureate receives £15,000 in acknowledgement of outstanding achievement in their field. Previous Laureates are: Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen, Anthony Browne, Julia Donaldson, Malorie Blackman and, most recently, Chris Riddell.
Lauren said she was honoured to be awarded the role:
I am … proud to be following in the illustrious footsteps of such giants of literature as Sir Quentin Blake, continuing the League of Laureates’ great work in elevating the status of children’s books in the UK’s cultural landscape.

BookTrust’s Chief Executive Diana Gerald commented:
The Laureates … share a core belief, one that underpins BookTrust’s own reason for being, and that is the power of reading, and its capacity to change children’s lives for the better. 

Lauren’s work 

Lauren Child, who was once an artist’s assistant to Damien Hirst, not only creates her own books, but also translates them into other media, such as in her role as associate producer of global hit television series Charlie and Lola. She says she would like to build on her work to establish stronger links between the world of children’s books and the realms of fine art, film, music, television and design.

Over the last two years, we have very much enjoyed the way Chris Riddell threw himself into the Laureate role. We’re excited to see what Lauren’s Laureateship will bring!

You can find more information about the Children’s Laureate here.


The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 

We’re delighted to announce that SCBWI-BI has been invited to nominate the recipient of The BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award for 2018.

This is an honorary post awarded annually to a children’s writer or illustrator whose body of work, in the opinion of the panel of judges, merits recognition for a lifetime’s achievement in children’s literature. The prize is managed by BookTrust and comes with an Honorarium of £5,000 provided by Arts Council England. It is separate from the Children’s Laureate, being purely celebratory rather than involving any wider purpose of promoting children’s literature. Past recipients are 2015 Shirley Hughes (2015), Judith Kerr (2016) and Raymond Briggs (2017).

Please add your suggestions for our nomination for the BookTrust Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 in the comments below before July 16th 2017.

Claire Watts is Co-editor of Words & Pictures. You can contact her here.


  1. David Almond was the first name that sprung to mind!

  2. Yes! David Almond or Philip Pulman (if he hasn't got one already!)

  3. David Almond, Judith Kerr, Shirley Hughes, Grace Nichols, Malorie Blackman?

  4. Lauren's work is the best for me ;) Such a talented kid!


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