Children's literature has been a fast growing area of academic interest in the past ten to fifteen years. Much of this has been further fuelled by an explosion of enthralling stories by writers such as Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo, J.K. Rowling and so on. In case it takes your fancy, the Open University is inviting people to sign up for its new Level 3 course Children's literature, which starts in October and runs until June. the reading list includes writers as disparate as Beatrix Potter, Beverley Naidoo, and Stevenson, not to mention the aforesaid Pullman and Rowling.
Coincidentally, during the past couple of weeks the press have been reviewing two new books: Roland Chambers' The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome, published by Faber and Faber and John Carey's William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies, also published by Faber and Faber.
This week's Sunday Times Culture supplement has included a large extract from the latter last Sunday, which revealed that had it not been for Charles Montieth, who was later to become chairman of Faber and Faber and who brought to the publishing house authors as celebrated as Beckett, Larkin, Stoppard, Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney, Lord of the Flies would probably never have seen the light of day. It's definitely worth a read if you haven't yet thrown out the Sundays. And if you have, you can read it online at http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/article6801942.ece
Coming soon - my daughter is threatening to compile a list of favourite reads for young teens. Watch this space!