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Anthony Browne named Children's Laureate

Story by Jack Foley

AUTHOR and illustrator Anthony Browne has been named as the new Children’s Laureate.

The 62-year-old, who is known for his surrealist style of drawing, has published almost 40 titles and is possibly best known for his gorilla drawings. His books include Gorilla, Zoo and the Willy.

Browne takes over from poet Michael Rosen, who held the title from 2007 to 2009.

The Children’s Laureate post is awarded every two years to an eminent children’s writer or illustrator to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.

Commenting after the announcement, Browne pledged to encourage more children to enjoy reading and books, with an emphasis on picture books [his forte].

He told the BBC: “Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book.”

He went on to point out that Britain could proudly lay claim to possessing “some of the best picture book makers in the world” and pledged to ensure that their books become appreciated for what they are – “works of art”.

Browne is now the sixth Children’s Laureate. He was presented with his medal and a £15,000 bursary by former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion at a ceremony in London on Tuesday, June 9, 2009.

The award is now funded by the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) and administered by Booktrust, and sponsored by Waterstone’s.

Viv Bird, chief executive of Booktrust, described the role as that of “ambassador and champion for children’s literature”.