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also looking forward to the opportunities 2013 will bring, and in particular a new project for children’s literature in spring.


‘Buoyed with the success of our 10th Birthday tour in 2012, when we had 95% plus capacity audiences in twelve theatre venues around the country, and newly supported by a generous grant from the Unwin Charitable Trust, Kate Tull, my co-director at the Children’s Bookshow, is working with the Devon Library Service to take writers and illustrators Alexis Deacon, Jessica Souhami, Daniel Morden, Michael Rosen, Berlie Doherty and Elizabeth Laird to libraries across the county in March. After readings at each venue, there will be the opportunity to buy books at bookstalls organised with local booksellers and signing sessions.


‘If the project is a success, and the huge enthusiasm of the Devon librarians is a good portent, then we plan to run similar tours in the future in areas of deprivation across the country.’


‘Seven Stories rides on the crest of a wave encircled by choppy waters,’ says Kate Edwards, Chief Executive of Seven Stories - The National Centre for Children’s Books. ‘2012 was one of our best years yet. We saw the highest number of visitors since we opened in 2005, and our schools programme goes from strength to strength. Late last year we were awarded national status through Arts Council England’s accreditation scheme, recognising the national significance of our collection, our excellent programmes and audience engagement.


‘Set in the wider economic context though, the picture is bleaker. We are in the midst of the worst economic times that communities have known for decades. Public sector cuts will have a detrimental impact on the lives of children, young people and families here, especially the vulnerable. Seven Stories isn’t unaffected; 13% of our funding is grant aid from Newcastle City Council and is under threat.


financial and aspirational poverty are greater - a place where it could make a real difference. Our 2013 challenge is to sail perilous seas, finding solutions to the cuts that we must bear, and working in solidarity with others to campaign against their disproportional and long-term impact.


‘Readers can help by joining our Friends Scheme and by lending their voice to our campaign about the impact of cuts. Find out more at www.sevenstories.org.uk’.


The publisher’s perspective


‘2013 looks set to be another challenging year for children’s publishers.’ says Ingrid Selberg Managing Director at Simon and Schuster, ‘S&S UK had our best year ever in 2012 but we had to work very hard to achieve that in the current retail climate. The rate of change, both at retail and in terms of our actual publishing with the growth of digital, is faster than I have ever experienced it.


‘We can expect the trend of big author “brands” driving sales to continue to grow. Fewer brands are commanding more sales as most retailers are supporting slimmer ranges. This has been great for us in terms of growing sales of our big authors - Darren Shan, Philippa Gregory, Becca Fitzpatrick, Sophie McKenzie, Dork Diaries in fiction and the Aliens Love Underpants brand and Sue Hendra in picture books - but it has become harder to get attention for debut authors, and for those we are working hard to increase awareness and visibility with a combination of old-fashioned hand-selling and using social networking and digital promotion, such as ebook samplers.





developments in the digital publishing world continue to be incredibly exciting





‘A good measure of our 2012 success was the result of our exhibitions and events programme, along with our commitment to tailoring it to our audiences’ interests and motivations. Undoubtedly, a run of blockbusters with Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson and Cressida Cowell captured our visitors’ imaginations.


‘There is a lot to look forward to in 2013. Ask any visitor what they would like to see at Seven Stories, and for many an Enid Blyton exhibition is top of their list. In 2010 we purchased a collection of original Blyton typescripts, including some Famous Five, Malory Towers and Noddy, resulting in our custodianship of one the largest Enid Blyton collections in the world. This will go on show from 4th May 2013 in a code-cracking extravaganza. Our celebrated Judith Kerr exhibition will return later in the year, back to honour her 90th birthday. Our audience reach is increased three-fold through our national touring exhibition programme.


‘Seven Stories was purposefully founded in the North-East where


‘The sale of ebooks grew four-fold for us in 2012 and this is largely driven by YA titles. A new area for us is a strong list of “new adult” titles which were self-published in the US but which we are bringing to a wider audience both online and as physical books. These “hot romances”, which are proving very popular, feature characters in the 17-22 age group and deal honestly with the issues and concerns of their lives. I am sure we will see a lot more of this in 2013 as well as more original publishing in ebook formats first.’


Meanwhile, Ruth Knowles, Editorial Director, Fiction at Random House Children’s Publishers, predicts a crime wave! ‘Crime levels have increased sharply in the last year or two! Adult authors like Jo Nesbo and Henning Mankell continue to dominate, and authors like SJ Watson and Gillian Flynn are taking the charts by storm. We’re very excited about publishing into this area for teenagers during 2013, and are delighted to welcome successful adult crime novelist Jane Casey to the list with her first YA thriller, How To Fall. We have fresh novels from Niall Leonard and Helen Grant, and with a ghostly take on detective matters, the inimitable Jonathan Stroud returns with an eagerly anticipated new series Lockwood & Co., the hero of the title playing a more supernatural Sherlock.


‘Fantasy is, of course, a perennial favourite – and we’re constantly impressed by readers’ voracious appetite for more. We’re seeing a real buzz around Rachael Hartman’s Seraphina and its sequel Drachomacia, as well as Joseph Delaney’s Spook’s series – with Jeff Bridges starring in the movie adaptation, set to be one of the biggest films of the year.


‘The developments in the digital publishing world continue to be incredibly exciting, particularly as online self-published authors are breaking through into the mainstream. The talent in the self-publishing charts and on online story forums is staggering, particularly in the case of Beth Reekles and Liz Reinhart, who we’re


Books for Keeps No.198 January 2013 3


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