Black Power, British Publishing and Child Readers, a talk by Karen Sands O’Connor

You are invited to a National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature seminar

Wednesday 17th February 2016

1-2 pm, Fincham 001

Department of English and Creative Writing

‘Politics and Publishing: Black Power, British Publishing and Child Readers 1965-1975’
Karen Sands O’Connor, Leverhulme Fellow, Newcastle University

In 1966, Stokely Carmichael encouraged a rally of African-Americans to demand “Black Power”; by the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, Black Power had become a movement.  Black Power was associated with self-esteem and identity-building in Black communities, but also with violence and militant action; many outside the movement, including liberal white groups and people associated with Martin Luther King Jr.’s ideas of non-violence disavowed or avoided Black Power and its public anger.  Although begun (and often referred to) as an American slogan and pressure group, Black Power affected people of African descent worldwide throughout the late 1960s and 1970s.  I will examine Black Power as it is embodied and manifested in the publishing of British children’s literature between 1965 and 1975, and the subsequent reaction to (and sometimes against) it in the media and academia.


Experiments in Rereading, a talk by Alison Waller

You are invited to a Reading, Writing and Memory Research Group seminar

Wednesday 13th January

1-2pm, Fincham 001 

‘Experiments in Rereading: childist criticism and the bibliomemoir’

Alison Waller, NCRCL 

When Hugh Crago mused in an article in Signal in 1979 ‘whether it could be useful if I, and some others, were to set down what we do recall about our reading habits in childhood’ he was a relatively lone voice representing an interest in autobibliography in the field of children’s literature. In the years following, autobibliography – or bibliomemoir – has become an increasingly visible and valid methodology for exploring questions about childhood reading, with critics and popular writers examining their own youthful reading histories from a variety of perspectives and for multiple purposes. In this paper, I focus particularly on the practice of rereading in autobibliographical criticism and in the boom of contemporary bibliomemoirs, exploring what adult voices can tell us about early reading experiences by reflecting on childhood books they have returned to later in life. This alternative ‘childist criticism’ raises new issues and reflects a range of assumptions about children and their personal reading, and in this paper I will set out some of the patterns of ‘compliance’ and ‘resistance’ that can be observed in accounts of rereading such as Francis Spufford’s The Child that Books Built (2002), Rick Gekoski’s Outside of a Dog (2009), and Patricia Meyer Spacks’ On Rereading (2011).