Anyone reading my main blog will know all about the CWIG conference at the weekend. On Sunday morning, those of us who had stayed up late the night before were feeling rather bleary-eyed, and I for one was struggling to concentrate from time to time. In an attempt to keep myself awake, I did little biro sketches of the people sitting in front and on the stage, and here they are:
I'm pretty sure that is Anne Fine and Celia Rees top left. Not sure about the others here, although I thought the man below was great to draw.
This selection below includes a rather iffy one of Graham Marks (standing), Alan Gibbons sporting the beard and glasses, and Michael Rosen top right, who happened to be sitting just a few rows in front of me before he got up to do his talk, about his role as the current Children's Laureate. The ones below are him a few minutes later on stage. If you want to read about some of his projects, take a look at the website www.childrenslaureate.org.uk
This last sketch is a pretty dreadful likeness of Philip Pullman. He was so animated that he just never stood still for a second.
This was because he was speaking about the new proposal for age-banding on children's books, something which he is passionately opposed to. His feeling is that labelling them with ages pigeon-holes those books that are very wide in their appeal, but will subsequently appear suitable for only a narrow age group. Other opposition comes from those who fear that a label such as 5+ on a picture book will mean that it won't get bought for 3 year olds, for many of whom it would be perfectly suitable, but also not be read by 7 year olds, who would worry about appearing babyish.
The argument in favour of age labelling seems to be that it makes it easier for childless people, or non readers to buy books as gifts, and easier for supermarkets to sell them without needing to employ staff capable of offering advice.
The debate rages on, but many major authors are up in arms and demanding to have the labelling removed from the covers of their books.