Roehampton Readers: Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

Review: Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

By Clare Walters

Set in rural Western Pennsylvania, USA, in 1943, Wolf Hollow (2016) tells the story of 12-year-old Annabelle’s bruising experiences with an ‘incorrigible’, ‘dark-hearted’, older girl, Betty. It is a coming-of-age novel, a Bildungsroman, in which the protagonist goes through a period of intense psychological change over a matter of a few months. She transforms from a happy, innocent child into a more wary, but stronger and independent, young person who’s had first-hand acquaintance with the underbelly of humanity.

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Cover via Puffin

The story, told in the first person, is narrated by a mature female voice, reflecting on a time when she was younger. The older Annabelle recalls how, during a few momentous months, she was forced to reconsider both her place in the world and her understanding of other people. She ‘learnt how to lie’, and discovered that what she said and what she did actually ‘mattered’ – that her actions directly affected others.

As Lauren Wolk explains in her video on the Carnegie shadowing website, Annabelle is a good girl, with a strong sense of right and wrong, who tries to solve a problem without recourse to her parents. In doing so, she discovers her own moral strengths and weaknesses. To cope with the situations before her, she has to face her own fear and draw on reserves of courage. Annabelle is both brave and loyal, but she is also subject to emotions such as anger and meanness (at one point she prays for Betty to get blisters from her encounter with some poison ivy). She also experiences constant confusion, as she’s unfamiliar with dealing with the difficult new challenges that tumble fast, one upon the other.

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Roehampton Readers: Shadowing Carnegie and Greenaway 2017

Carnegie Greenway MedalsRoehampton Readers, who meet at the University of Roehampton to discuss the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards shortlists as a shadowing group and post reviews to the shadowing site itself, are now in their fourth year. NCRCL MA student Nicki Oakes-Monger, who coordinates the group with fellow MA student Judy Digby, reflects on their summer outing and this year’s shadowing experience.

Carnegie group outing

 

Here we are, the Roehampton Readers shadowing group, composed of current and former Children’s Literature MA students on our summer outing to Chawton, Hampshire. We had a private tour of Chawton House Library where Jane Austen’s relatives lived and which now houses a collection of early women’s writing, including some books written for the instruction of children. We also visited the house where Jane herself lived and which is now a museum. All this was interspersed with the consumption of plenty of coffee and cakes!

We have been meeting as a group for the past four years over the summer in the weeks leading up to the selection of the Carnegie and Greenaway winners. In the past year we have also met up regularly to talk about past award-winning books. It is enjoyable to get together with other people who have a strong interest in children’s literature and the discussions often go into considerable depth, which is a stimulating experience.

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Call for Papers: 2017 IBBY UK/NCRCL Conference

24th ANNUAL IBBY UK/NCRCL CONFERENCE

SATURDAY 11 NOVEMBER 2017

Centre for Literacy in Primary Education, London SE1 8QW.

Call for Papers

‘Happily Ever After: The Evolution of Fairy Tales Across Time and Cultures

The same fairy tales often appear across different cultures. How and why does this happen?

Should fairy tales be updated – or even subverted – to appeal to modern audiences?

How have fairy tales evolved as they’ve been retold across the centuries?

The conference will include keynote presentations by writers, publishers and academics. Proposals are welcomed for parallel sessions (lasting about 20 minutes) on any relevant issues from any period in the history of international children’s literature. These might include:

  • variations in fairy tales across cultures
  • campfires to apps – how fairy tales have been shared across time
  • how fairy tales are viewed through a feminist lens
  • whether fairy tales are inclusive for readers of all backgrounds
  • the challenges that modern tellers of fairy tales face
  • how fairy tales can challenge established storytelling tropes
  • how to make an old story feel new

The deadline for proposals is July 31st 2017. Please email an abstract of approximately 200 words (for a 20-minute paper), along with a short biography and affiliation to Ann Lazim of IBBY UK at annlazim@googlemail.com.

Please note that only six papers can be selected due to the smaller size of this year’s venue.

Details of past conferences can be found on the IBBY UK website at http://www.ibby.org.uk/ncrcl-conference.php

 

 

NCRCL Open Day 2017

The annual NCRCL Open Day was held on Saturday 13th May 2017 at Digby Stuart College, University of Roehampton.

As usual, the Open Day was an exciting opportunity to meet new, current, and past students and staff over cupcakes, Danish pastries, cookies, tea, juice, and coffee. Apart from marvelling at displays of children’s literature treasures, staff publications, and poster presentations by current MA students, we also enjoyed fascinating talks by Zetta Elliott and Peter Hunt.

Zetta Elliott: “Inclusivity and Indie Authors: the Case for Community-Based Publishing”

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Photograph via Zetta Elliot

Award-winning Canadian author and educator Zetta Elliott spoke of her experiences as an author published through both traditional publishing and self-publishing routes. She advocated for “organic writing”, which “originates within a particular community and emerges without outsider approval and/or interference”, and prioritises the welfare of the community over commercial success. The value of self-publishing for marginalised groups was underlined by Elliott pointing out bleak statistics related to white supremacy in the American publishing industry:

 

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Infographic via Sarah Park

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The First Issue of RoundTable

The first issue of RoundTable, the new postgraduate journal for academic and creative writing at the University of Roehampton, is now available online (open access)! The first issue focuses on the theme of journey and includes fascinating children’s literature-related content: a candid interview with Professor David Rudd, academic articles, a YA short story, and reviews! You can access the journal here.

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The cover of the first issue

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NCRCL PhD Day 2017

Rebecca Sutton, PhD student with the NCRCL, reports on her experience of our 2017 PhD Day, which she organised this year.

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Illustration by Anne Malewski

The annual NCRCL PhD Day went ahead on Thursday 18th May in the pristine new Elm Grove Conference Centre at the University of Roehampton. It was a day of eight stimulating presentations by current PhD students and one soon-to-be PhD student. Here is an overview of the presentations, in the running order of the day, so you can get an idea of our current research projects:

  • Rebecca Sutton: “Inside/Outside: Contested Space in Young Adult Literature set in Israel/Palestine”
  • Sarah Pyke: “An “archive of me”: Constructing queer adult subjectivity through an oral history of adolescent reading”
  • Aliona Yarova: “Narrating Humanity: Children’s Literature and Global Citizenship Education”
  • Erica Gillingham: “Princesses and Hard Core Lady-Types Fall In Love: Pictorial Representations of Same-Sex Attraction in All Ages Comics”
  • Sinéad Moriarty: “P-P-P Pick up a Penguin: Antarctic Penguin Stories for Children”
  • Manuela Salvi: “The Secret School of the Mooning Guerrillas: a Creative Project on Children’s Fiction, Age Banding and Censorship”
  • Anne Malewski: “Playing Adults: Camp Wildfire and KidZania”
  • Emily Corbett: “Transgendered Identity and Bio-Social Determinism in Contemporary Young Adult Fiction”

It was exciting to share our research with each other and to see the sheer diverse nature of the research projects that we as the NCRCL research community are conducting, and to observe the passion, creativity, and academic rigor with which each project is being undertaken.  I felt very proud to be part of such an innovative and inspiring research group.

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Two Memories of Fiction Events on Childhood Reading Experiences

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Illustration via Quentin Blake

Welcome to these two Memories of Fiction project events!

Memories of Children’s Books
Wednesday 31st May 2017
6.30 to 8 p.m.
Putney Library

Shelley Trower, lecturer at the University of Roehampton and project leader of Memories of Fiction: An Oral History of Readers’ Life Stories, and Ferelith Hordon, children’s librarian and editor, will lead a discussion of the items in the Wandsworth collection of Early Children’s Books. The collection will be on display, and the discussion will focus on memories of children’s books, especially as material objects: their covers, their smells, their feel. Please bring memories (or even physical copies) of a children’s book you remember reading!

This event is free, and refreshments will be available. All welcome!

You can read more about this event, and register for it here.

Our Lives in Libraries
Wednesday 7th June 2017
6.30 to 8 p.m.
Balham Library

Shelley Trower, lecturer at the University of Roehampton and project leader of Memories of Fiction: An Oral History of Readers’ Life Stories, and Alison Barton, librarian and book group facilitator, will discuss memories of libraries and what they mean to us, ranging from childhood to the present, from book groups to cuts and hopes for the future. In preparation for the event, please have a think about a visit you remember making to a library!

This event is free, and refreshments will be available. All welcome!

You can read more about this event, and register for it here.

These events are part of the Wandsworth Heritage Festival and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. If you can’t make it to these events, Memories of Fiction welcome any comments on their blog.