Meet our speakers: Claire Malcolm
Find out more about Claire Malcolm, who will be joining us for our BookTrust Represents training event in Bradford on 21 September.
Claire Malcolm, the CEO of New Writing North, will be joining us in Bradford on 21 September to run the Confidence Building for Creatives session.
Getting to know Claire
Who was your favourite author and/or illustrator when you were growing up and why?
Enid Blyton books were the main books that I had growing up - Noddy and the Famous Five were my favourites. I come from a working class background and didn't own many books when I was growing up, but I still have my Blyton books now. My favourite illustrations growing up were the Ladybird book fairy stories and the Janet and John books.
Who are your favourite children authors and/or illustrators now and why?
I have a 7-year-old daughter and have absolutely loved getting into reading children's books and picture books with her. I have fallen in love with Judith Kerr's Mog books. They make me laugh and her illustrations are wonderful - so full of character. I also love that the people in her books look like real people (in slippers and eating boiled eggs!)
What advice would you give to a new author and/or illustrator that you wish you had been given?
That the job of 'author' has changed a great deal over the past 20 years and it's now as much about events and workshops and public engagement as writing.
What has been your career high so far?
Getting to work with, support and develop the careers of some really amazing writers. My 13-year-old self still sometimes can't believe how professionally close to books the adult me has managed to get!
What are you currently reading?
Bernadine Evaristo's Girl, Women, Other, and it's a really wonderful experience. I've never read her before and plan to now read everything she's written. With my daughter I am reading The Racehorse that Wouldn't Gallop by Clare Balding as she is horse mad.
Who or what inspires your work?
I'm inspired by women in the industry who make room for others and by writers who commit to uncertain financial lives to write great books.
Why are you supporting BookTrust Represents?
For over 20 years I've worked in a role supporting writers to develop creatively and professionally. British publishing needs to continue to become more representative of everyone in the UK, whether that's through class, ethnicity, disability or geography and BookTrust Represents is playing an important role in supporting children's writers and illustrators to raise their profile and develop their professions.
More about Claire
Claire is the founding Chief Executive of the literary charity New Writing North, where she oversees flagship projects such as the David Cohen Literature Award, Gordon Burn Prize, the Northern Writers' Awards, the Durham Book Festival and award-winning work with young people. She works with partners from across the creative industries and charity and public sectors including Penguin Random House, Hachette, Channel 4 and the BBC to develop talent in the North. Claire is a trustee of the reading charity BookTrust, the Community Foundation Tyne and Wear and a board member of the North East Cultural Partnership.
Our three-year project promotes and supports children’s authors and illustrators of colour, so young readers find the books that represent them.