You might be a person of letters, but has an internationally renowned body deemed you the “ambassador of gibberish?” If not, you have something to work toward. The honorific was delivered to children’s author Michael Rosen from poet Raymond Antrobus, who was on the judging panel of the 2023 PEN Pinter prize, which honors writers in the UK, Ireland or Commonwealth who “define the real truth of our lives and our societies,” per the award’s namesake Harold Pinter.
Rosen is the author of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt—flibbitygibber that marches through your subconscious even as the rest of this sentence plays out—as well as the poignant but low-key Sad Book, about the emotions he felt after his son Eddie’s death; Don’t Put Mustard in the Custard; and the more recent Many Different Kinds of Love, set in an NHS hospital during COVID.
Students at Goldsmiths, University of London, currently get to enjoy Rosen in his capacity as professor of children’s literature. Rosen gave a keynote speech for the PGCE Primary Children’s Literature Conference at Goldsmiths College in 2021 in which he talked about the power of literature that “asks more questions than it answers.” Children’s lit in particular, he said, involved the reader in the story:
“We might put ourselves in the shoes of that character or—metaphorically—those characters might hold our hand, so we go through the literature as it unfolds being a companion … an imaginary comparison, an imaginary friend of the imagined character in a book.”
Please join me in a celebratory swish swoosh swish swoosh.
[h/t The Guardian]