Wednesday, June 13, 2007

At the South Bank on Sunday to witness the relaunch of this national institution, I saw Billy Bragg, Alan Yentob, Richard Rogers and thousands of other artsy people. I watched street theatre from a garden shed, went Gormleyspotting - oh and saw one of those bags.

On Monday it was an absolute pleasure to MC the Children's Laureate announcement this week at BAFTA, despite having woken up that morning with a stinking cold.
Jacqueline Wilson has been superb in the role and her final round up of laureating activity was impressive. Michael is wonderful and will do wonders for children's poetry - which needs all the help it can get according to the judges of the CLPE prize awarded today to Julie Johnstone (editor): The Thing That Mattered Most. Scottish Poems for Children illustrated by Iain McIntosh (Scottish PoetryLibrary/Black & White Publishing). Our new laureate was there as was judge Ian McMillan, an old friend from Sheffield days.

Yesterday I met up again with the phenomenal Rachel Van Riel of Opening the Book, pioneer of Reader Development and scourge of floppy thinking, and Gary McKeone, the man we all miss at the Arts Council, currently working with the Reading Agency. We were on a panel with performance poet and web 2.0 enthusiast Jacob Sam-La Rose, talking to London librarians at the LLDA conference on their GET LONDON READING strategy - a good opportunity to urge everyone to rise to our own Get London Reading challenge. 'ReadDating' was one of the best ideas of the last GLR I thought: speed dating meets book talk.