World's Top Children's Literature Scholars Come Together in Worcester

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The world’s top scholars in children’s literature will gather at the University of Worcester for a prestigious congress next week.

The 22nd biennial congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature will take place over four days, from August 8-12 and will welcome delegates from more than 40 countries.

It is being hosted by the University’s International Forum for Research in Children’s Literature and the theme is Creating Childhoods. There will be a rich programme of keynote talks and scholarly papers that address various strands of this theme: childhood health and wellbeing, the child in myth and folklore, childhood in history, and the representation of children in imaginative texts.

Delegates will also have the opportunity to participate in sessions with storytellers, artists, and performers who create texts for and with young people.

Professor Jean Webb, from the University of Worcester, said: “Worcester is very proud to host this congress which brings together a truly international community of scholars in the field of children’s literature. The impetus for this congress was an awareness of the increasingly inter-disciplinary nature of the study of children’s literature; a phenomenon which is often referred to but rarely widely discussed.

“Creativity is also, at least in the UK, a subject and approach which is topical, yet again under explored. The congress team at Worcester therefore decided to bring these two matters together against which to consider, interrogate and analyse children’s literature and texts in the widest interpretation, and to furthermore consider the impact upon children and childhoods from international perspectives. Writers, artists and academics variously create, interpret and re-create notions of childhoods and the child body.”

Keynote speakers include Roger McGough, President of the Poetry Society and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Poetry Please; Julia Eccleshare, Chair of The Guardian Children’s Book Prize; Professor Maria Nikolajeva, from the University of Cambridge; Dr Nina Christensen, Head of the Centre for Children’s Literature at Aarhus University in Denmark; Professor Michelle Martin, of the University of South Carolina; Dr Anto Thomas Chakramakkil, of St Thomas’ College, Kerala, India; and Professor Derek Peters, from the University of Worcester, an expert in childhood obesity.

The Congress was last held in Maastricht in The Netherlands in 2013 and in 2017 will be hosted by York University in Toronto, Canada.