Taking children's literature seriously: UWE author to give keynote address

Issue date: 13 November 2013

Author and critic Dr Catherine Butler will give the keynote address at the Society of Authors Children's Writers and Illustrators Group AGM on Tuesday 19 November.

Dr Butler is associate professor of English at UWE Bristol, an award-winning critic and the author of numerous novels for children and young adults.

She says, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to address the Society of Authors, not least because it gives me the opportunity to combine the worlds of academia and fiction writing, which form two sides of my professional life, as well as to speak to an influential and fascinating group of people beyond academia.

“The title of my talk – 'Taking Children's Literature Seriously' - alludes to a perennial problem amongst children's writers, who are all too used to being asked 'When will you write a real book?' However, my talk will seek the underlying causes of this specific complaint in the more general ambivalence within Western society about children and childhood as a whole.”

Her appearance at the Society of Authors will be followed by a keynote address and lecture tour in Taiwan in December. Here, her keynote address on 'The “Split Brain” of Children's Literature Teaching' will concern the divide between empiricism (e.g. working with actual children) and traditional literary criticism, and discuss ways to heal that divide.

Dr Butler's titles include Calypso Dreaming, The Fetch of Mardy Watt and Death of a Ghost. She has also authored short fiction for children's publisher Barrington Stoke and for her recent edited collection, Twisted Winter.

As a critic, she is author of Four British Fantasists, which won the Mythopoeic Scholarship Award, and Reading History in Children's Books (with Hallie O'Donovan). She is associate editor of the journal Children's Literature in Education, reviews in the online Armadillo Magazine, is a regular blogger at the Awfully Big Blog Adventure and keeps her own LiveJournal blog under the name Steepholm.

The Society of Authors CWIG AGM starts at 5.30pm on 19 November. The talk takes place from 6 – 7.30 pm and costs £10 for members or £15 for guests, including VAT and drinks.

To reserve a place email Neha Matkar or telephone 020 7373 6642.

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