Reading and Rebellion

Michael Rosen  Credit Goldsmiths University of London

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With Kimberley Reynolds, Michael Rosen and Polly Toynbee

Discover the radical side of children’s literature as our guests discuss the left-leaning books, novels, pamphlets and songs designed to equip a generation of children with the skills needed to make a new, progressive, left-wing society. With Kimberley Reynolds, Michael Rosen, chaired by Polly Toynbee

In the years 1900 to 1960, large sections of the British population embraced a spectrum of left-wing positions with a view to maintaining peace and creating a more just, less class riven, more planned, and more enjoyable society for all. Children’s books and periodicals were a central part of radical activity since the young were expected not just to inherit but also to help make this new society, and reading was regarded as the most direct way of helping them acquire the skills for this task. 

Kimberley Reynolds is the Professor of Children’s Literature in the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University. She has served on the boards of a number of national and international organisations, is a Past President of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. She has lectured and published widely on a variety of aspects of children’s literature. Her monograph, Left Out: The forgotten tradition of radical publishing for children in Britain 1910–1949 (2016) received the Children’s Literature Association Book Award for 2018. In 2013 she received the International Brothers Grimm Award for scholarly contributions to the field of children’s literature studies.

Michael Rosen is an author and Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London. Since 1974 he has published over 200 books for children including We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Sad Book, and Quick Let’s Get Out of Here. His books for adults include Alphabetical and The Disappearance of Emile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case. He has been broadcasting on BBC World Service and Radio 4 and 3 since 1987, and hosts BBC Radio 4’s Word of Mouth. He writes a monthly column in Guardian Education, a column in the New Humanist, and is poet-in-residence on The Teacher. He was Children’s Laureate from 2007-2009, and his memoir So They Call You Pisher! is a recollection of the kind of left-wing upbringing that Michael and Kimberley discuss this evening.

Image: Michael Rosen, courtesy of Goldsmiths, University of London


Name: Reading and Rebellion
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
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When: -
Price: Full Price: £15.00
Member: £15.00
Senior 60+: £12.00
Student: £10.00
Registered Unemployed: £10.00
Under 18: £10.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546