Award-winning children's author Elizabeth Laird to speak at Book Festival event

Award-winning children's author Elizabeth Laird to speak at Book Festival event

We are delighted to announce that Elizabeth Laird, the UK’s nominated author for the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award, will be coming to Edinburgh on Sunday 22 November to talk about her writing and celebrate the work of one the greatest authors of all time, Hans Christian Andersen.

Elizabeth Laird is as well-known for her globetrotting adventures as for her powerful and inspiring stories for young people, which include The Garbage King, The Fastest Boy in the World, and her latest fiction Dindy and the Elephant. She has lived, taught and travelled all over the world, from Ethiopia, Malaysia and India, to Lebanon, Iraq and Austria, and her journeys and experiences have strongly influenced her writing, including her extraordinary story collection and auto-biography The Lure of the Honey Bird: The Storytellers of Ethiopia.

In this very special event, she is joined by translator, critic and editor of The Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature, Daniel Hahn. Together they explore writing, work in translation, the migration of stories, and the lasting legacy of Hans Christian Andersen.

Elizabeth Laird has written over 30 books for children and young adults, has been shortlisted five times for the CILIP Carnegie Medal, as well as every other major children’s book award, and her work has been translated into over 15 languages. On leaving university she lived and taught for some time in Addis Ababa, where she fell in love with Ethiopia’s stunning landscapes and people, and since her first trip to the country in her early twenties, she has travelled extensively all over Ethiopia, and indeed the world.

The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books. Every other year, IBBY presents the Andersen Award to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature. The selection criteria include the aesthetic and literary qualities of writing and illustrating as well as the ability to see things from the child's point of view and the ability to stretch the child's curiosity and imagination. The winners will be chosen from writers and illustrators nominated from 28 countries around the world and announced at the IBBY Press Conference at the Bologna Children's Book Fair on 4 April 2016. The UK’s nominated illustrator for 2016 is Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell.

Our Director of the Children’s and Education Programme, Janet Smyth said, “It is very exciting to have Elizabeth Laird and Daniel Hahn joining us in Edinburgh to explore the world of stories and how they have travelled and adapted through time. In our increasingly culturally diverse society, understanding tales from other lands is a vital part of understanding those cultures and heritages, something Hans Christian Andersen recognised as he used traditional tales to form the wonderful stories we all know and love.”

Pam Dix, chair of IBBY UK, said, “IBBY UK is delighted and proud to nominate Elizabeth for this major award. Her work consistently embodies IBBY's aims of promoting international understanding through children's literature and of celebrating diversity in the widest possible sense.”

Clara Govier, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery said: “We are delighted that players of People’s Postcode Lottery have been able to continue to support the work of the Edinburgh International Book Festival which has seen people across Scotland have increased access to literature.”

Once Upon a Time with Elizabeth Laird and Daniel Hahn will take place at Assembly Roxy in Edinburgh on Sunday 22 November at 3.00pm.  Tickets: £10 full price, £8 concessions plus a special student price of £5 (limited number of these tickets available) are on sale via our website now or through our Box Office on 0845 373 5888.

This event is part of our Booked! programme, a wide-ranging series of literature events, supported by players of People’s Postcode Lottery. These events provide unique access to authors and live literature events in intimate surroundings, instilling a love of books and an enjoyment of reading for all levels of ability, all ages and all communities.

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