TES books editor Geraldine Brennan on the inside literary track.
Bothered about boys and reading (lack of)? Within reach of central London? Puffin Books is saving 10 seats for TES readers at its "Books for Boys" panel discussion at 6.30pm for 7pm start on Wednesday March 9. Journalist Damian Kelleher will chair a discussion with three Puffin authors: The Fast Show's Charlie Higson (whose account of James Bond's schooldays, Silverfin, comes out next week), Nigel Hinton (veteran of countless school visits, latest book Time Bomb) and Sam Llewellyn, creator of the Little Darlings series. The first 10 readers to email tania.vian-smith@ penguin.co.uk with name and school address will be sent full details and an invitation. These events are always lively, interesting and oversubscribed, so grab your seat now.
All those 13 to 16-year-old girls who are still recovering from the shock of not being picked to play JK Rowling's Hermione Grainger on the big screen can make a bid for the next best thing: a key role in the feature film adaptation of Rowling's favourite children's fantasy story, The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. Lion Children's Books (publisher of the book) and Ottakar's bookshops are running a competition to find five unknown actresses to audition for the part of Maria, the last of the Moon Princesses.
Expenses will be paid for the five girls (plus one adult each) to attend a workshop with a casting director. They will then do individual auditions and be given videotapes. From next week www.lionhudson.com and www.ottakars.co.uk will carry entry forms and full conditions, which you can also pick up from Ottakar's branches. A clue: it's crucial to read the book first. Closing date April 18.
Margaret Meek, emeritus professor at the Institute of Education, University of London, lines up next to JK Rowling, Philip Pullman, Birmingham Children's Libraries' "Stories from the web" team and 13 other children's literature luminaries on the UK nominations list for Sweden's Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize, worth pound;35,000.
You can see the full list and details of the 118 contenders worldwide at www.alma.de. The UK nominees are invited to celebrate at London's Swedish embassy next month. The winner will be announced on March 16.