About the Children's Laureate About the Children's Laureate

Julia Donaldson
Malorie Blackman

Frequently asked questions

Who is the current Waterstones Children's Laureate?

Malorie Blackman is the current Children's Laureate.

What is the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

The role of Children's Laureate is awarded once every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.


The Children's Laureate receives a bursary of £15,000 and a specially designed and inscribed silver medal.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea for the Children's Laureate originated from a conversation between (the then) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo. They considered it an appropriate and timely way to combine the celebration of excellence in writing and illustration for children with honouring individuals who have made a significant and lasting contribution to the world of children’s books.


Quentin Blake was the first Children's Laureate (1999-2001), followed by Anne Fine (2001-2003), Michael Morpurgo (2003-2005), Jacqueline Wilson (2005-7), Michael Rosen (2007-2009), Anthony Browne (2009-11), Julia Donaldson (2011-2013) and Malorie Blackman (2013-2015). Each Children’s Laureate has taken the opportunity to promote particular aspects of children’s books – these have included visual literacy, readers with disabilities, poetry, storytelling, illustration, drama and writing for young adults. Find out more about the previous laureates

What area does the Laureate cover?

The role of Children's Laureate covers the UK - England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For information about the Irish Children's Laureate, visit the Laureate na nÓg website.


Who selects the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

The selection panel consider nominations from a range of organisations representing librarians, critics, writers, literature development workers and booksellers, including the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). They also look at suggestions from children, who are able to put forward their ideas for who should be the next Children's Laureate through this website.


The selection panel for 2013-2015 were:

  • Krishnan Guru-Murthy - broadcaster and Channel 4 News anchor
  • Melissa Cox - Children's New Titles Buyer, Waterstones
  • Adam Lancaster - Associate Head Teacher at Monks Walk School and School Librarian of the Year 2012
  • Abigail Campbell -  Chair of the Children's Laureate Steering Group
  • John Dunne - representing IBBY UK
  • Kate Agnew - children's bookseller, Muswell Hill Children's Bookshop, representing the Booksellers' Association

What are the criteria for selecting the Children's Laureate?

The selection process takes into account the following criteria:

  • Exceptional talent in writing or illustration
  • A contribution to creating the next generation of readers, writers and illustrators
  • Excellence developed through an eagerness to explore and experiment with ideas, genres and the possibilities of their craft
  • A substantial publishing record
  • A significant profile in the industry and amongst their peers
  • An interest in raising the profile of books for children, and for their writers and illustrators

Who runs the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

The Children's Laureate is managed by Book Trust, who support the Laureate, organise the four official Children's Laureate events per year, raise funds and run the official website. Book Trust work with Riot Communications on the Children's Laureate's press and PR.


Book Trust work closely with the Children's Laureate Steering Committee, made up of representatives of the children's book world, who provide a range of expertise and guidance with which to support the Children's Laureate's work.

The current Steering Committee comprises:

  • Kate Agnew - children's bookseller, Muswell Hill Children's Bookshop, representing the Booksellers' Association
  • Abigail Campbell (Chair) - freelance children's literature consultant
  • John Dunne - retired librarian and representative of IBBY UK
  • Julia Eccleshare - Children's Books Editor for the Guardian
  • Lindsey Fraser - literary agent
  • Alyx Price - Communications Director at Macmillan Children's Books, representing the Publishers Association Children's Group
  • Professor Kim Reynolds - University of Newcastle
  • Claire Shanahan - Head of Arts, Book Trust

Who funds/supports the Waterstones Children's Laureate?

Waterstones is the lead sponsor of the 2013-2015 award, with additional funding coming from Arts Council England and the Authors Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).


Children's publishers also provide support for the Children's Laureate, including lead publisher sponsor for 2013-2015, Random House Children's Books. Find out more about the funders and sponsors

How can I send letters to the Children's Laureate?

If you would like to write to the Children's Laureate, you can send correspondence to:

Malorie Blackman - Children's Laureate
Random House Children's Books
61-63 Uxbridge Road
London W5 5SA

How can I invite the Children's Laureate to visit my school or library?

If you are from a school or public library and would like to invite Malorie Blackman to visit you during her time as Laureate, please follow these instructions to register your interest. Please note that the Children's Laureate receives a huge volume of invitations, and only a limited number of school and library events will be available.

If you would like to invite the Children's Laureate to do an event which is not in a school or library setting, please contact childrenslaureate@booktrust.org.uk


How can I meet the Children's Laureate?

Visit our events page for information on events with the Children's Laureate