Posts Tagged ‘Maria Nikolajeva’

A brief report from Stavanger

February 8, 2011

Maktens Pluttifikasjon, the Nordic children’s literature conference is well underway. What makes the conference special is the breadth of participants and topics, all sectors of children’s literature are represented: librarians, teachers, authors, illustrators, researchers, publishers, translators and last but not least – the super readers, youngsters who aren’t shy to give their opinion.

The conference opened with a reading of the funny and thoughtful picture book Odd er et egg (Odd is an egg) by Lisa Aisato.

Maria Nikolajeva, professor at Cambridge University, held the opening lecture in which she spoke about knowledge and power. An interesting lecture, where prof. Nicolajeva gave examples of how children’s literature can be used as an instrument of power and how the adult writer has the potential to manipulate the child reader through artistic means.

With the conference name Maktens Pluttifikasjon, referring to Pippi Longstocking, in mind Agnes-Margrehte Bjorvand from the University of Agder showed how Astrid Lindgren borrowed and reused material from herself. Themes, characters and scenes in her earliest works, the short stories she wrote for monthly magazines, reappears in her later books.

We also had the opportunity to listen to Danish writer Fatima A. Alatraktchi, who wrote her first novel at the tender age of fourteen. The dystopic novel received critical acclaim for its realistic depiction of power struggles in school, paralleled in the world at large.

Stavanger calling!

January 17, 2011

Under the artistic leadership of Ine Marit Torsvik Bertelsen, the biannual children’s literature conference in Stavanger is dubbed Maktens Pluttifikasjon and aims to raise questions of power, transition and social class in the world of children’s literature.

The conference program features researchers, authors, illustrators and promoters of reading, mostly from Scandivia, but also from other parts of the world.

Highlights in the program include:

  • This year’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award winner Kitty Crowther will present her work with special focus on her latest book Le petit homme et Dieu.
  • Professor Maria Nikolajeva, former member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury, will speak under the title Knowledge is power.
  • Author Stefan Casta, member of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury, will speak about The powerlessness of the Author.
  • Researcher Lena Kåreland will speak about the Different disguises of power in Swedish young adult literature.
  • Illustrators Svein Nyhus (Norway) and Carll Cneut (Belgium), both nominated to the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, will present their work.

The conference will aslo feature interesting debates, one of which will cover how Norwegian children’s literature is received and reviewed in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. In this debate the translator Gabriele Haefs, who held a very inspirational acceptance speach as she received the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis 2009, will participate.

Maktens Pluttifikasjon takes place 7-9 February. Here’s where you sign up!

The Jacqueline Wilson Award in Children’s Literature Research

December 5, 2010

The first winner of the Jacqueline Wilson Award in Children’s Literature Research was recently announced at Homerton College, University of Cambridge. Professor Maria Nikolajeva, former member of The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury, presented the award to Clémentine Beauvais for her master thesis Training the philosopher-king: Platonic ideology in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.


The award has been made possible through a donation by one of Britain’s most loved children’s book authors, Jacqueline Wilson. It shall be given annually to the best masters thesis in children’s literature submitted at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, within each academic year.

Here’s an excerpt from Jacqueline Wilson’s speech, read at the ceremony:

It’s wonderful that studying Children’s Literature is now a perfectly viable and respectable academic option. All of us grey-haired surviving practitioners of Children’s Literature remember the strange attitudes of the past. Even though the 1960s are considered the Golden Age of Children’s Literature, somehow those brilliant writers were considered to be indulging in some decorous harmless hobby – like knitting woolly animals or constructing miniature buildings out of matchsticks.

I had my first children’s novel published in the early eighties. Let us say the reception was under-whelming. For many subsequent years I worked hard producing at least two children’s novels a year. I had good reviews but very modest sales. I lost count of the number of well-meaning friends who said in an encouraging manner, “Perhaps you’ll be able to get an adult novel published one day.”

It was my friend Philip Pullman who remarked that no-one ever tells a Paediatrician that they might be able to work with adults one day. But Philip, and Michael Morpurgo and Anne Fine and many others kept on writing specially for children – and at last we’re all recognised as participators in our chosen genre. The wondrous Harry Potter phenomenon has changed the way Children’s Literature is perceived. You can now become rich and famous if you are a children’s writer, so inevitably you are taken more seriously by the general public. And at last there are brilliant further degree courses in Children’s Literature where students can study the subject seriously.”

The full speech can be read here.