BookTrust's 11th Writer in Residence Philip Ardagh stepped into the role for six months from 2014-2015, and kicked off by writing about the importance of inclusivity in children's books.
At 6ft 7in with a big bushy beard, children's author Philip Ardagh is a familiar sight at book festivals and events from New York to Shanghai to Edinburgh to Sydney. Having won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2009 (with illustrator Jim Paillot) he was shortlisted for a second time in 2013 (with illustrator Axel Scheffler) but failed to win.
'This confirms that I'm still funny,' he stated, 'though not as funny as I used to be. Having said that, I think I could have won a second time if Axel had made more of an effort.'
Passionate about books, Philip's own titles have been translated into around 40 languages. He's passionate about libraries too - both public and in schools - and is keenly interested in the inclusion of characters with physical disabilities in children's books. 'Shouldn't we all be able to find books peopled with people like us or the people around us?' he writes in his first blog post.
As well as having collaborated with Sir Paul McCartney on the ex-Beatle's only children's book to date, Philip Ardagh also wrote, edited and starred in the BBC's first truly interactive radio drama, and is an 'irregular regular reviewer' of children's books for The Guardian.
Probably best known for his (award-winning) Eddie Dickens adventures, starting with Awful End, Philip's other fiction includes his (award-winning) Grubtown Tales and very popular (very silly) Grunts adventures, illustrated by Axel (WHICH HAVE YET TO WIN ANYTHING). He also loves writing non-fiction.
On his appointment as BookTrust's online Writer in Residence, Ardagh said:
'I was delighted to be asked because I'm a huge admirer of the work BookTrust do to promote reading. I'm also delighted to have the opportunity to inflict my thoughts on anything and everything - including books and beards - on an unsuspecting public.'