The post of Children's Laureate was invented by Michael Morpurgo and Ted Hughes, and is sponsored by Waterstone's booksellers
* Quentin Blake 1999-2001
* Anne Fine 2001-2003
* Michael Morpurgo takes over this week for two years
Children are invited by Waterstone's to nominate writers and illustrators.
Interested bodies such as the International Board for Books for Young People, the Federation of Children's Book Groups and librarians' groups are consulted and a final decision made by a panel of expert judges under the chairmanship of a well-known figure, this year the editor of Private Eye, Ian Hislop.