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Centre for Children's Literature

Children's literature centre logo

The Cambridge/Homerton Research and
Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature

Is a joint enterprise between the Faculty of Education and Homerton College

Both institutions have a long tradition in children’s literature and a strong national and international profile for high quality research and teaching. The Centre brings together researchers, teachers and students in a vibrant, thriving scholarly community.


  • Proposals are now invited for the 3rd Cambridge Symposium on Cognitive Approaches to Children's Literature, to be held on March 17, 2017 at the Centre for Children's Literature, Cambridge. The deadline for submitting a proposal is January 6, 2016. Please send it along with a 50-word bio to Professor Maria Nikolajeva, at  
  • On September 23 and 24, 2016, the Centre hosted a two-day symposium celebrating the 40th anniversary of Mildred Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry. Professor Michelle Martin from the University of Washington delivered the keynote.
  • On May 21, 2016, the Centre hosted a One-Day Conference at Homerton College, titled 'Horse Tales: Writing the Equine in Children's Literature'. Invited speakers included the celebrated and prolific writers of equine fiction K.M Peyton, Meg Rosoff, Jane Badger and Susanna Forrest.
  • On April 26, 2016, the Centre and PLACE group hosted a One-Day Mini-Symposium at Homerton College, titled 'Focus on American Children's Literature'. Professor Jerry Griswold was the keynote speaker. 
  • Heartiest Congratulations to the esteemed young adult author Meg Rosoff on winning the world's largest award in children's literature, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), for 2016! The Centre is particularly pleased since it has nominated Rosoff in the past for the prize, in its capacity as one of the six nominating bodies for the ALMA in the UK. 
  • In late March 2016, a contingent of four students (Jen Aggleton, Flynn Meghanne, Katy Day and Siddharth Pandey) and a lecturer (Dr. Zoe Jaques) from the Centre presented papers at the 37th International Conference of the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA) in Orlando, Florida. View report.
  • In early March 2016, the Centre hosted its Second Cambridge Symposium on Cognitive Approaches to Children's Literature at Homerton College. Professor Peter Stockwell from the University of Nottingham delivered the keynote. 
  • Malin Alkestrand, PhD Student and Visiting Scholar for 2016 from Lund University, Sweden shared the following report upon the completion of her visit: "I was a visiting scholar at the Centre for Children’s Literature for five weeks. At this time I was about to finish my doctoral thesis. I felt that I needed to become part of a community of scholars which studies children’s literature, both in order to improve my thesis, and in order to get inspiration for new research projects. Without a doubt, my short but extremely intense visit to the Faculty helped me reach my goals. I gave a talk where I presented my study, visited seminars, participated in reading and writing groups, worked in the library with its extremely helpful staff, and was able to establish connections with scholars within my own field of research. My host, Professor Maria Nikolajeva, and the Ph.D. students made me feel very welcome, and I was inspired by how the Ph.D. students support each other in their individual projects. For anyone who studies children’s literature, I can highly recommend being a visiting scholar in this environment, especially since the research community consists of academics from so many different parts of the world. My train from King’s Cross did not transport me to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but being a visiting scholar at the Centre for Children’s Literature was a truly magical experience!"
  • Claudia Mendes, PhD Student and Visiting Scholar for 2015 from Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, shared the following report upon the completion of her visit: "I had an extraordinary experience as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Children's Literature for one year. Being part of such a vibrant and international community of researchers broadened my horizons in unexpected ways. Besides finding precious resources for my current research, I made friends for life and developed ideas for future joint projects. As a researcher in picturebooks, I had great time meeting my colleagues every other week at the Picturebook Club, where we examined interesting books, discussed stimulating articles and exchanged impressions about our investigations. We had access not only to the wonderful libraries at the Faculty of Education and Homerton College, but also the University Library. My host, Maria Nikolajeva, was very welcoming and encouraging, and I am very thankful to her for granting me such a unique opportunity."
  • On December 1, 2015, Anna Savoie won the 2015 Jacqueline Wilson Award for her MPhil Thesis. Anna Savoie won the 2015 Jacqueline Wilson Award
  • On November 14, 2015, the Centre hosted its annual Open Day at the Mary Allan Building, Faculty of Education, from 2-5pm. The award-winning children's book author and illustrator Mini Grey was the guest speaker. 
  • From September 15-19, 2015, the Centre celebrated the 150th anniversary of ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ the UK's largest celebration of its kind, titled ‘Wonderland at Homerton College,' inclusive of a three-days international conference, a gala mad tea party, a 'Wonderland in the Classroom' workshop for teachers, and many other attractions. The conference keynote speakers included Professor Dame Gillian Beer (University of Cambridge), Professor Jan Susina (University of Illinois), and Dr. Kiera Vaclavik (Queen Mary's University, London). View a detailed report.
  • On September 10, 2015, the celebrated writer Meg Rosoff delivered the 8th Annual Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture.
  • The year 2015-2016 has witnessed numerous established and new researchers and writers in children's literature presenting their work at the Centre. These include Dr. Laura Little (Bath Spa University), Eve Tandoi (Cambridge), Professor Kimberley Reynolds (Newcastle University), Professor Karen Sands-O-Connor (Newcastle University), Aidan Chambers, Malin Alkestrand (Lund University).
  • Please click here for information concerning 'The Poetry and Memory Project', which began in January 2014. The interdisciplinary research project investigates the experience of poetry learning and is lead by senior lecturer David Whitley and fellow researcher Debbie Pullinger. 
  • For a list of previous events hosted by the Centre, please see the archives section at
  • Read the latest entry on the Children's Literature at Cambridge blog.
  • Join the Cambridge Children's Literature Facebook group.

What we do

Because of its unique foundations, the Cambridge/Homerton Centre has distinctive strengths that combine to make it a special place for children’s literature research. We aim to:

  • create a favourable environment for high-quality and innovative research in children’s literature
  • combine literary, aesthetic and educational approaches to the subject
  • accommodate theoretical, empirical and interdisciplinary research
  • support practitioners through dissemination of research findings

We have active links with:

  • the artistic community of authors, artists and poets
  • literary and artistic institutions, including the Arts Council, the Poetry Society, the Poetry Book Society, Book Trust, and the British Council
  • other children’s literature research centres and research institutions, nationally and internationally

The Philippa Pearce Memorial Lecture

This is a series of annual lectures given in memory of Philippa Pearce. Previous speakers include Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman and Malorie Blackman. For information pertaining to the forthcoming annual lecture, please click here.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

The Centre is a nominating body for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Please click here for further information.

The Jacqueline Wilson Award

Established in 2010 in recognition of the high quality research in children’s literature at the Faculty of Education and Homerton College, this award for an outstanding Master’s thesis has been made possible through a generous donation by Jacqueline Wilson, one of the most popular children's books writers in the UK. The winner of the 2014 award was Annabel Leigh. Information concerning the 2015 Jacqueline Wilson Award ceremony will be released in due course.

The Child and the Book Conference

In 2012, the Centre hosted the eighth international Child and the Book conference at the Faculty of Education in Cambridge. Please click here for further information on this particular event.

book photo montage

Quotation from Matthew Grenby