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Forever Young: Children’s Literature Today


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From Lewis Carroll to Dr Seuss, JK Rowling to Shaun Tan, some of the most inventive, surreal, hilarious and insightful minds in literature have chosen children as their preferred readership. Why choose children? And which of today’s kids’ books will be tomorrow’s classics?

At this grown-up discussion about books for little people, we’re taking a close-up look at children’s literature today. And we have some of the best in the business to help us do it. Writer, broadcaster, lecturer and the Guardian’s children’s book editor, Julia Eccleshare, will be joined by beloved kids’ author and Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs. Their host will be Billie B Brown author, Sally Rippin.

What’s the state of literary criticism for children’s books? How is the business of children’s book publishing changing, at home and abroad? How do we keep feeding insatiable young bookworms and how do we create new reading converts?

Join us for some answers to these and other questions, in a lively conversation about kids, creativity and the business of books.

Presented in partnership with the Australian Children’s Literature Alliance.


Julia Eccleshare

Julia Eccleshare is the children’s books editor at the Guardian and a freelance writer and critic. In addition to numerous anthologies, her books include A Guide to the Harry Potter Novels and Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter: Portraits of Children’s Writers. She is the editor of 1001 Childre... Read more

Leigh Hobbs

Leigh Hobbs is the Australian Children’s Laureate (2016–2017). He is best known for his children’s books featuring his characters Old Tom, Horrible Harriet, Fiona the Pig and Mr Chicken, as well as the Freaks and their teachers in 4F for Freaks and Freaks Ahoy. Old Tom&... Read more

Sally Rippin

Sally is the Australian Children’s Laureate for 2024 – 2025. She is Australia’s highest-selling female author and has written over 100 books for children and young adults, many of them award-winning, including the popular Billie B Brown and Hey Jack! series, and the Polly and Buster tr... Read more


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