Writing about the First World War for Children

How do you write about the First World War for younger readers? This is the question we asked ourselves as we discussed how to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the war.

So we asked four authors who have written about the war to share their thoughts and experiences with us at a symposium held at the British Library on 14 April 2014.

Paul Dowswell is a writer of non-fiction and fiction, writing mainly for children and young adults. He has written over 60 books, mostly with history as the subject, but also about geography, natural history, and science. He was the winner of the ‘Historical Association Young Quills Award’ for Secondary School fiction in 2012 (for 'Sektion 20') and 2013 (for 'Eleven Eleven').

Michael Morpurgo is a former Children's Laureate and award-winning author of children's books including 'War Horse' and 'Private Peaceful'. He was awarded an Honorary English Association Fellowship in 2007.

Sarah Ridley is the author of 'Brothers at War: a First World War Family History' (Hachette, 2012) and 'Dear Jelly: Family Letters from the First World War' (Hachette, 2014).

Marcia Williams is a Fellow of the English Association and a member of the Association's Children's Literature Interest Group. She is a former nursery school teacher who blends her storytelling skills and humorous illustrations with well-known figures and stories from literature in a distinctive comic-book style. Her book 'Archie's War: My Scrapbook of the First World War' (Candlewick Press, 2007) captures the Great War through a child’s eyes with a fascinating fictional scrapbook including real mementos of the day.

The Symposium was part of an all-day event on Writing the First World War organised by the British Library, the English Association and the Historical Association. More information about the conference can be found here.

We also offered a limited number of tickets to attend the symposium only. Delegates joined the conference at 2.00 for tea and coffee, followed by the closing session of the conference, or joined the event at 2.30 as the symposium proper began.

 

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