TES books editor Geraldine Brennan on the inside literary track
Who says sixth-formers have no time to read for pleasure? Well, nearly everybody. But students from Cheney and Wheatley Park schools in Oxfordshire have been helping publishers find out what might make it easier. Harper Perennial, a new imprint which gives the HarperCollins backlist the DVD treatment with extra features, has been working with the schools all this term and the results will be presented at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival on Saturday March 27 (2pm at the Bodleian Library, box office 01865 305305). Other highlights in this closing weekend of the festival include Philip Pullman, Ad le Geras and Michael Morpurgo (pictured) on the distinctions between writing for children and writing for adults. Choose between this and novelists Beverley Naidoo and Adbulrazak Gurnah talking to Yaa Mensah of Wasadiri magazine about "exile, migration and cultural travelling". Both events are at the Oxford Union, Sunday at 2pm. Plus Karen Armstrong at noon on Sunday and Edna O'Brien at 6pm Saturday. Box office for all these on 01865 305305.
The shortlists for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals awarded to the top children's books of 2003 by the Chartered Institution of Library and Information Professionals will be announced on April 30. On a smaller scale, 350 Lancashire high-school pupils have settled on a shortlist of 10 for their Book of the Year to be announced this month. Could Mark Haddon (Whitbread, Guardian, Booktrust Teenage Book Prize) clean up in Lancashire too, or will Sherry Ashworth (teacher at nearby Bury grammar and author of Blinded by the Light, which has already won the schools-based North East Book Award) give him a run for his money? All will be revealed in May.
If you missed last year's Kin Spoken Word tour, on publication of the black and Asian women writers' anthology Kin (edited by Karen McCarthy, published by Serpent's Tail this month), see www.dotcog.com barbicankinindex.htm
for details of Kin events at the Barbican, London, on April 4 to 6. The line-up includes previous Whitbread award-winner Patrick Neate and Malika Booker, a poet coach on last year's London Teenage Poetry Slam. Details of this year's slam for London secondary schools on 020 8432 0694. Also see www.jsamlarose.com poetrykitchen for Malika's Kitchen, an online community of poets.