NCRCL Open Day – Melvin Burgess and Louise Joy speaking

NCRCL Open Day

Saturday 18th May 2013

10.00 am to 1.00 pm


Duchesne Building, Ground Floor

Digby Stuart Campus

The NCRCL invites you to an exciting summer event for MA/PG Dip and PhD students past, present and future.

  • Tea, Coffee and Conversation – meet the NCRCL team.
  • Honorary Research fellow Melvin Burgess presents his latest book.
  • Presentations from NCRCL Staff about research and teaching interests.
  • Book launches – forthcoming publications from the NCRCL team.
  • Research Talk by Louise Joy (Homerton College, Cambridge) –  ‘The Laughing Child: Eighteenth-Century Children’s Literature and the Comic Mode.’
  • Light Refreshments to close the morning.

Current students and alumni are all welcome as is anyone interested in applying to the MA/PG Dip in Children’s Literature, or undertaking doctoral research at the NCRCL.

There is no charge for the open day, but you will need to book a place for catering purposes. In order to book please contact Lucy Parsons:

Learn More about the MA in Children’s Literature

Learn more about the MA in Children’s Literature (On-Site and Distance Learning),
run by the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL),
University of Roehampton, London.


Have you ever thought about doing an MA in Children’s Literature? If so, you are cordially invited to any and all of these upcoming events where you can learn about our programme. You might be interested to know that we offer two MA programmes – one on-site and the other by Distance Learning. The on-site MA can be completed in one year of full time study or by part-time study, while the Distance Learning MA can be completed from anywhere in the world through part-time study. Please get in touch with Laura Atkins, Senior Lecturer and Admissions Coordinator, if you have any questions ( And do come and join our on-site Open Evening (13 February) and/or or Virtual Open Evening (28 February). You can also read more about both events here. (


On-site Postgraduate Open Evening

Wednesday 13 February 2013

If you’re interested in studying a postgraduate course at Roehampton but want to learn more about us, then this is an ideal opportunity. All of our postgraduate course conveners will be in attendance to chat one-on-one with you. You will also be introduced to postgraduate study at Roehampton, your career options upon graduation and meet current postgraduate students. Book online here. (


Children’s Literature MA Virtual Open Evening

Thursday 28 February 2013

If you are interested in studying children’s literature at Master’s level and want to know more about the possibilities with Roehampton University’s National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL), please join Course Convener Alison Waller and Senior Lecturer Laura Atkins online during this virtual open day. We will give you an overview of the Master’s and Postgraduate Diploma programmes and a tour of the online learning environment. You will also be able to ask any questions you might have about the academic or practical elements of studying at a distance. While this will primarily focus on the Distance Learning MA, we are happy to address questions and spend some time speaking about the on-site programme as well. By booking onto this event, you will be sent a link which will give you the log-in details to participate in this webinar on Thursday 28 February 2013, from 5pm.

Places are limited and fill up quickly, so early booking is recommended. Book online. (



The MA Children’s Literature by Distance Learning examines texts aimed at children, from early fables and fairy tales to contemporary picturebooks and young adult fiction. Students are introduced to a range of literary and cultural theories, exploring social constructions of childhood and the place of children’s books in making culture, as well as reading the texts in a variety of ways. Both programmes are designed to be attractive to a wide range of individuals, including those who are interested in the subject in their capacity as librarians, teachers, counsellors, and parents. Students learn through a mixture of independent study, tutor feedback, and peer support.


Studying the on-site MA Children’s Literature at the University of Roehampton is a challenging and rewarding experience.  During the course your knowledge and passion for children’s literature will be developed and enriched through a number of thought-provoking modules.  Don’t believe us? See what previous MA students have to say about the programme: You will be introduced to Master’s-level study of children’s literature through the introductory ‘Critical and Culture Perspectives’ module.  In this, you will study a range of approaches to literature in general – from Freud, to the French feminists, from historicist methods to ecocriticism – giving you a sound, broadly-based theoretical background. We also believe that it’s necessary for students of children’s literature to be aware of issues and developments in complementary disciplines. This means you’ll cover something of the emotional and linguistic development of children as readers and the nature of their response to literature.


Please pass this along to anyone who you think might be interested.

Marvellous Margaret Mahy: a Tribute

Marvellous Margaret Mahy: a Tribute
Friday 18 January 2013
Faculty of Education, Cambridge

Alison Waller writes:

Margaret Mahy
Margaret Mahy

On hearing the news back in July last year that Margaret Mahy had died I knew that my own private mourning of this important literary figure would be reproduced and amplified by obituaries, reflections and tributes from around the world. Mahy’s writing reached so many: from anarchic, carnivalesque picturebooks to humorous portraits of family life and magical explorations of the complexities of adolescence, her books were enjoyed by countless young readers and discussed by many teachers and academics of children’s literature. In my own work on the figure of the teenage witch, I have found her young adult novels The Changeover (1984) and The Tricksters (1986) especially inspiring.

Of course, her work will continue to be read and relished: one of the magic tricks performed by authors like Mahy is that they never trulyMarvellous Codes: the Fiction of Margaret Mahy leave us. I was therefore delighted to be invited to participate in an afternoon’s tribute and celebration of all things Mahy organised by children’s literature scholar Dr Liz Hale. I wrote a chapter for Liz’s Marvellous Codes: the Fiction of Margaret Mahy, edited with Sarah Winters back in 2005, and was glad to finally have a chance to meet her while she was on sabbatical at Cambridge.

Dr Cathy Butler joined us from the University of West England and gave an entertaining and thought-provoking talk tracing the role of librarian in The Librarian and the Robbers (1978), The Haunting (1982), The Changeover and The Catalogue of the Universe (1985). She ingeniously linked Mahy’s ambiguous portrayal of chaos and order to the work of Jorge Luis Borges, particularly ‘The Library of Babel’. Unfortunately Prof Adrienne Gavin had to send her apologies – her talk was to be on ‘Kiwi Ingenuity: Margaret Mahy, New Zealand Mythmaker’ and it would have provided a very welcome focus on the national impulses in Mahy’s writing. Liz spoke about security and danger in a range of picturebooks, including A Lion in the Meadow (1969), The Boy Who Was Followed Home (1975) and The Great White Man-Eating Shark (1989). She also reminded us of a wonderful short story called ‘The Cat who became a Poet’, which nicely interrogates the dangers (and pleasures) involved in embracing the literary imagination.

Margaret Mahy's Memory (1987)

I wanted to remember Mahy by considering two of her novels that have loss and memory at their core, and I was also keen to turn my attention towards some male adolescent protagonists for once. So I looked at the various metaphors of memory employed in Memory (1987) and 24 Hours (2000) and suggested that in some of her more radical images of embodied and connected memory, Mahy reflects recent models of consciousness that have emerged in more scientific discourses.

The afternoon was great fun, with lots of discussion, plenty of tea and plans made to publish papers in the future. Many thanks to Liz for organising, and Cambridge for hosting. And of course to Margaret Mahy for being so marvellous.


Marvellous Codes: the Fiction of Margaret Mahy, a collection of critical essays on the New Zealand writer Margaret Mahy.  Eds. Elizabeth Hale and Sarah Fiona Winters. Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2005.