Five minutes with… children’s author Lauren Child

Published: Thursday 29th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Adored children’s writer and illustrator, Lauren Child, came to Hull to take part in the incredible Big Malarkey Festival.

We managed to catch up with the author ten minutes before her appearance to discuss her work and new role as the Waterstones Children’s Laureate.

Firstly, how do you feel about your new role?

It’s such an honour. However, I do think of it also as a job – there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with it. But it’s very exciting at the same time.

So what sort of things will you be doing as Laureate?

There are several things that I’d like to do. I’d like to work on a couple of collaborative exhibitions.

I want to talk about creative connections. If you are a writer or illustrator, you spend quite a lot of time observing, watching and listening. Therefore, I want to encourage children to spend their time looking and finding things.

Look on the pavements and outside the window. There are some really amazing things that you can find when doing this.

Having that space to think and daydream is very important. When you’re trying to create, you need time to think.

I’d also like everyone, not just children, to see the connections between various art forms, whether it’s film, TV, radio, art galleries, museums or even a sport. All of these things are creative and they feed into each other.

You have some really vibrant characters under your belt, including most famously Charlie and Lola. Where do you get the inspiration for your characters?

Much of it comes from my own memories, as well as other people’s memories. Sometimes inspiration comes from interesting things that people say or do.

Again, I get a lot of my ideas from looking outside of a car or train window. In everyday situations, such as standing in a supermarket queue, you can overhear or see really interesting scenarios.

For example, you can look in someone’s basket and wonder what on earth their evening is going to be like from the peculiar collection of items in there.

Often, I’ll notice the way someone has put an outfit together or the way that they’re walking. The idea for Lola definitely came from a real life girl.

I’ve actually just seen a wonderful looking girl standing at the bus stop as I was travelling through Hull in my taxi. Some people just stick in your memory.

Lastly, what’s the best part about being a children’s author and illustrator?

I suppose it’s working for oneself. I am very privileged to be an illustrator and writer. I get to think out my own work and go at my own pace. Of course, I have deadlines and pressures, but what I’m dreaming up is all from my own mind.

I don’t think about the audience much because I’d go loopy. So I have this amazing opportunity to explore my own mind. It also allows me to communicate what I think is important for people to understand.

It’s fantastic because, often, a thought will hit a reader in the same way it hit me to begin with. And then you get this lovely feedback or conversation.

The best moments are when my work has inspired someone else to do something creative.

The Big Malarkey Festival runs until Sunday 3 July. You can also discover more about Lauren Child on her website, MilkMonitor.

Meanwhile, children aged 14 and under can take part in KCOM’s Young Writers competition. This offers the opportunity to add a new section to an ongoing story, with the final piece turned into an animation for this year’s Freedom Festival.

Enjoy more Hull and East Yorkshire news on HEY Today

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Published: Thursday 29th June 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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