The Duchess of Cornwall hosts celebratory tea for Waterstones Children’s Laureate 20th anniversary

Published on: 17 October 2019

The Duchess of Cornwall has hosted a tea at Clarence House yesterday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Waterstones Children’s Laureate, which is awarded once every two years to an eminent children’s bookwriter or illustrator to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.

The Duchess of Cornwall celebratory tea Waterstones Children’s Laureate 20th anniversary

The Duchess of Cornwall welcomed the current Waterstones Children’s Laureate, Cressida Cowell, and four former  Laureates, Jacqueline  Wilson, Julia  Donaldson, Anthony  Browne and Chris  Riddell, where they discussed, amongst other things, the importance of libraries, sharing the powerful experience of reading aloud and how books inspire children to unleash their creativity.

The Duchess of Cornwall celebratory tea Waterstones Children’s Laureate 20th anniversary

Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2019–2021, said:

'It was so kind of The Duchess of Cornwall to invite our League of Laureates to tea. She has been a staunch champion of literary causes and charities for so many years, and it was an opportunity for us to say how very grateful we are for her support. Over tea in the Garden Room, we discussed the invaluable role of libraries in both schools and communities, and why it is so importantthat every child has access to books and can experience the transformative magic of reading.'

The  Duchess  and  Laureates were  joined by Diana  Gerald,  CEO  of BookTrust, alongside Jill Coleman (Director of Children's Books), Emily Drabble (Head of Children's Books Promotion and Prizes).

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, said:

'BookTrust was delighted to be invited to Clarence House by The Duchess of Cornwall, who is clearly just as passionate  as  we  are  about  ensuring  the  next  generation of young  readers  are  inspired  to  discover  the wonderful  world  of  words. We spoke  about  the powerful experience of  reading  aloud,  with The  Duchess sharing her strong, beautiful memories of being read to as a child by her father,and how she now reads to her grandchildren and encourages them to lose themselves in a book.'

The League of Laureates

Originally  created  by  Poet  Laureate  Ted  Hughes  and  author  Michael  Morpurgo,  eleven  authors  and illustrators have  been  appointed to  this  prestigious  role: Quentin  Blake,  Anne  Fine, Michael  Morpurgo, Jacqueline  Wilson,  Michael  Rosen,  Anthony  Browne,  Julia  Donaldson,  Malorie  Blackman,  Chris  Riddell, Lauren Child and current Laureate Cressida Cowell, author-illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and The Wizards of Once series, and author of the Emily Brown picture books, illustrated by Neal Layton.

The ‘League  of  Laureates’  are the   foremost   representatives of  children’s  literature,  showcasing  the extraordinary and dynamic art form and its rich contribution to culture in the UK and bringing it to the attention of a wider audience. Together the Laureates encompass all genres of children’s literature – illustration, poetry, picture books, YA and everything in between – and have introduced millions of children to an extraordinary world of creativity.

Download the full press release (.pdf)

Find out how we've been celebrating 20 years of the Children's Laureate

Waterstones Children's Laureate

Bestselling author-illustrator Cressida Cowell is the Children's Laureate for 2019-21: a role given every two years to celebrate outstanding achievement in children's literature.

All about the Laureate