Bookings for the NCRCL Open Day!

NCRCL Open Day

Saturday 13th May 2017 | 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Duchesne Building, Ground Floor, Digby Stuart Campus

Welcome to the National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature’s spring event for MA/PG Dip and PhD students past, present, and future! The Open Day is an opportunity to meet the NCRCL team over tea and cakes, celebrate current research, and hear fantastic speakers.

We are delighted to announce that award-winning Canadian author and educator Zetta Elliott, an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing, and distinguished children’s literature critic Peter Hunt, the first Professor of Children’s Literature in the UK, will be joining us this year.

Current students and alumni are all warmly invited as is anyone curious about the work of the NCRCL, and anyone interested in applying to the MA/PG Dip in Children’s Literature, or undertaking doctoral research at the NCRCL!

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Alumni Q&A: Helen Swinyard’s Library Epiphany

We caught up with Helen Swinyard who completed the MA in Children’s Literature at the NCRCL in 2003. Through the MA, Helen discovered that being a school librarian is an exciting way to pursue her love of children’s literature.

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Helen Swinyard speaking at the Haringey Children’s Book Award which she set up. In the background: authors Philip Womack and 2016 winner SF Said.


What led you to the NCRCL?

I had friends from school studying their undergraduate courses at Roehampton (it was the University of Surrey Roehampton then) and I remember visiting them a couple of times and walking past the NCRCL on campus and thinking ‘what’s that?’ I thought it sounded like an exciting place.

I had always enjoyed reading as a child and wanted to be a writer when I ‘grew up’. So even though the demands of secondary school meant I didn’t read that much, I always wanted to read English at university level. However, during my undergrad degree I had a first year set course and then had second year modules I didn’t really enjoy – the experience wasn’t what I had anticipated at all. Finally when I was completing my degree I suddenly rekindled my love of reading and analysing, and luckily had the chance to carry straight into an MA as I didn’t want it to end! The NCRCL was top of my list.

What did you most enjoy and take from the MA?

It was a real indulgence for me at the time to spend a full year immersing myself in children’s literature and surrounding myself with others who love that world as much as I do. After 3 years of studying general English literature, and having to read things that didn’t really interest me, that year helped me regain my love of reading.

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Bookings for NCRCL Open Day!

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NCRCL Open Day

Saturday 11th June2016, 10:00am to 1:00pm

Ground Floor, Duchesne Building, Digby Stuart College

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

The open day will include:

*   Tea, Coffee and Conversation — meeting the NCRCL team
*   Aidan Chambers, our invited guest, speaking about his creative and critical practice
*   Presentations from NCRCL Staff about research and teaching interests
*   Poster presentations from current MA Dissertation students
*   MA Children’s Literature Prize-giving
*   Pop-up Bookshop
*   Optional visit to the Children’s Literature Collection in the Library

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 Julia Noyce: Julia.Noyce@roehampton.ac.uk

Student Profile: Flávia Lins e Silva, The Magical Hammock

NCRCL Distance Learning MA student, Flávia Lins e Silva, writes about her experience visiting the Roehampton Library and explains the inspiration behind many of her children’s books.

THE MAGICAL HAMMOCK

By Flávia Lins e Silva

This summer, I visited the Roehampton campus with my character, Pilar, and was really impressed with the library. Books by J.M. Barrie that I have never heard of before and the amazing collection of Richmal Crompton! Wow! If you are near this library, you are lucky! But I live in Brazil and, as a distance learner on my second year of the Children’s Literature MA, I could only spend a day there.

I was on my way to the Gothenburg Book Fair where Pilar had a meeting with Pippi Longstocking and the Moomin family! Well, in fact, I was going to give a speech about ‘how we get interested in other cultures’. In my Pilar’s Diary series, the main character travels with a magical hammock to Greece, Egypt, Nigeria, Machu Picchu, and the Amazon (illustrated by Joana Penna). On each trip, she hears local stories, local myths, languages, and recipes and the adventure transforms her.

I am a Brazilian Children’s writer from what I would call the 3rd generation. First, we had the generation of Monteiro Lobato, who created Sítio do Picapau Amarelo and the famous Emilia doll. Then came the 2nd generation of writers like Lygia Bojunga and Ana Maria Machado, both winners of the Hans Christian Andersen Prize. Now the third generation, the one I am included in, and that has talents like Luciana Sandroni, Bia Hetzel, Mariana Massarani, and the great Roger Mello who just won the Hans Christian Andersen for Illustration.

When I was young, only a few books were translated in Brazil and we had to import expensive books from Portugal to read stories like The Hobbit. Now, many books that are considered classics in the U.K. are finally arriving in Brazil. (And we can buy e-books, what a revolution!).

I believe we can discover a new culture with many senses. With our ears: hearing a music from Cape Vert, for example. With our mouths: tasting a delicious curry from India… And travelling. But travelling is still unaffordable to many people. So a way to travel is through stories, page by page, book by book.

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Discovering Diamonds: MA student publication in John Meade Falkner Society Journal

NCRCL MA student, Jonathan Brough, writes about his experience in researching and writing his essay/article ‘Prosper the Bonaventure… Storm Coming Now’ for Travels in Children’s Literature. The article will now be published in John Meade Falkner Society Journal (forthcoming July 2015).

Discovering Diamonds

By Jonathan Brough

Appropriately enough for an essay to be submitted as the Travels in Children’s Literature assignment, it all began with a trip to New York City and a side-adventure to the bookstores of Union Square. Barnes and Noble was the source of a copy of the latest Horn Book and, having read an intriguing review (and succumbed to some very clever advertising) for a new teenage title by South African writer Michael Williams, I journeyed through the eighteen miles of books shelved in the nearby Strand Book Store and finally found a copy.

diamond boyEvery so often in life, perhaps once every eight years or so, I’ve discovered a book that just stops my world, everything else pales into insignificance and venturing through the narrative of the novel is the only thing that matters. I’m transported into a world utterly alien to me, but one that I can also completely understand; I’ve never had any of the experiences depicted in the plot, but I can empathise with all the characters nonetheless. The list is short: The Remains of the Day, To Kill a Mockingbird, Waterland, The Fault in Our Stars perhaps, but my find that day has definitely become a member of the short but select group. I started reading it on a bench in Union Square, somehow — I genuinely don’t remember how — I got myself back on the subway to my hotel room and I finished it at about two o’clock the next morning. It was Diamond Boy (2014) by Michael Williams.

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Time & History in Children’s Literature

We asked Clare Walters, one of our MA in Children’s Literature alumna, to write about her experience auditing the Time and History module taught by Dr Lisa Sainsbury in Spring 2015.

All Things Must Pass

A reflection on the Time and History module for the Children’s Literature MA

Audited and reviewed by Clare Walters

The module began with a discussion of what might be meant by ‘historical fiction’. We loosely defined it as books that, at the time they were published, engaged with the past, often mixing in real historical characters with fictional ones. We noted that the nineteenth century texts – The Children of the New Forest and Kidnapped – reflected a fairly stable view of British history, but acknowledged that these books are now viewed in a different light. They are ‘doubly’ historical in that, being read years after first publication, they can reveal more about the time they were written than the period they describe. This was true even of the mid-twentieth century novel The Eagle of the Ninth.

A number of questions were posed of each text. Could a particular ideological framework could be identified, or a didactic purpose revealed? Were authenticity and accuracy of primary importance? And who was the implied reader? We applied these questions to fictional histories, too – those first-person novels where the narrative framework relies on an individual’s (potentially unreliable) memory, such as The Stonebook Quartet, Issac Campion and Code Name Verity. We discussed the inclusion of historical objects in fiction and asked whether these could provide continuity to the present; and we debated the role of images in the historical picturebook Rose Blanche.

Around Week Five the focus changed to the time-slip novels Charlotte Sometimes, A Stitch in Time and Midwinterblood, where the action shifts between various time frames. In these books less emphasis is placed on the historical and more on the personal. The text becomes an emotional dialogue between past and present, and there is often interplay between a linear structure of time (chronos), and a more mythical sense of time, in which significant moments repeat themselves (kairos).

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Reminder: NCRCL Open Day & Virtual Open Day

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A brief reminder that the NCRCL Virtual Open Day: Live Seminar will be held online this Friday 29th May from 19:00-20:00. If you are interested in joining this live session, please email Alison at a.waller@roehampton.ac.uk. The Virtual Open Day is ongoing and currently available online.

The NCRCL Open Day will be held on campus at Roehampton University on Saturday 30th May from 10:00-13:00. Research talks include presentations by Olga Holownia (University of Iceland) and Jacqueline Wilson, children’s author and Chancellor of Roehampton University. 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 Julia Noyce: Julia.Noyce@roehampton.ac.uk.

We hope to meet you at either event!