Pamela Knights began her career as a teacher of English and Drama in secondary schools. Her scholarly work in children's literature is informed by her expertise in teaching and her interest in young people as readers and consumers of texts. She taught and carried out research at the University of Durham up to her retirement, winning a National Teaching Fellowship which incorporated a wide range of activities with schools and students in Britain and which aimed to enhance English teaching.
Pamela Knights is a distinguished scholar in the field of American literary realism, with major publications on Edith Wharton, Kate Chopin and William Faulkner. Her research in children's literature was spurred by her membership of IRSCL from the 1990s, and she has published widely on children's texts and on the teaching of children's literature. She joined the IRSCL Board in 2006, serving as Secretary in her first term.
Pamela's most significant contribution to IRSCL took the form of her role as founding Executive Editor of International Research in Children's Literature from 2007 to 2010. During these years Pamela represented the IRSCL Board in meetings with Edinburgh University Press, reporting to the Board on these meetings and paving the way for the agreement between EUP and IRSCL that led to the launch of the journal in July 2008. As the inaugural Executive Editor, Pamela worked closely with John Stephens, the Senior Editor, to ensure that the journal would grow and thrive. Her roles included the formulation of the journal's style guide, the inauguration of the Advisory Board, the development of editing protocols, and the establishment of processes of communication between authors and editors. During these crucial early years Pamela Knights's scholarly acumen, tact, editorial skills and thoroughness helped shape IRCL into a successful scholarly journal, distinctive in its international reach and playing an integral role in IRSCL's engagement with the scholarly field of children's literature.
Okiko Miyake began working in childrens literature in 1964 when she became a lecturer at Osaka Ohtani Womens College. Later she gained a professorship at Baika Womens University in Osaka, where she is now a Professor Emerita. Okiko Miyakes many publications cover Japanese literature for children, representations of Japan in English books, chapbooks and picture books, with an emphasis on the cultural contexts of Japanese and English texts for children.
Okiko Miyake is a prominent research leader: in Japan she has been President of the Association of Studies for Picture books, and of the Japan Society for Childrens Literature in English. Her international connections are evident in her participation in IRSCL congresses and activities, and her work as the Chairperson of the Fourth Pacific Rim Conference in Kyoto in 1993.
Since 2010 Okiko Miyake has been the Chief Director of the International Institute for Childrens Literature in Osaka, one of the worlds great collections of childrens literature and a centre of activities for the general public. This Institute, founded in 1984, is located in the Osaka prefecture. In 2008 it faced the prospect that it would be closed down and its collection of more than 700,000 items dispersed throughout the holdings of the Osaka Prefectural Central Library. With her colleagues, Okiko Miyake first conducted a local and international campaign to prevent the closure of the Institute. When the Governor decided to go ahead with his plans, Okiko Miyake and her colleagues continued their campaign and took legal action to protect the Institutes collection. Ultimately the collection moved to the Osaka Central Library, but because of the advocacy of Okiko Miyake and her colleagues the staff of IICLO are continuing their work of collection, classification and preservation as well as developing new outreach activities.
Tomoko Masaki began her work in childrens literature in 1973 when she established a private library in Osaka, sharing picture books, poems, and stories with babies, children and adults from all over the world. She worked as a lecturer in childrens literature at Baika Womens University, becoming a Professor at Seiwa University in 2005.
Tomoko Masaki has devoted herself to research on the picture book: its history in Japan and England; its design, comparative cultural studies and audience studies. Among her many publications on this topic, her principal scholarly work is the two-volume History of Victorian Popular Picture Books, which comprises a bibliographic and analytical investigation of Routledges toy books, published between 1852 and 1893. This is the authoritative study of toy books, a key resource for anyone working on the history of British childrens literature. In 2006 it received the Harvey Darton Award, given biennially to a book that best addresses British childrens literature of the past.
In 2001, with her colleague Okiko Miyake, Tomoko curated a major exhibition, 'Through Eastern eyes: The art of the Japanese picture book' at Newcastle Universitys Hatton Gallery.
In 2005 Tomoko Masaki took up the position of Chair of the Committee which organised IRSCLs 18th Congress in 2007. This was the first IRSCL Congress held in Japan and one of the most successful in the Societys history. With her colleague Okiko Miyake and many other Japanese scholars, she has been a key supporter of the International Institute for Childrens Literature in Osaka in its struggles for survival since 2008. Tomoko Masaki is the chief plaintiff in the continuing court case initiated by IICLO at the Osaka District Court concerning the ownership of the many rare and precious items in the IICLO collection.
The IRSCL Fellowship recognises Sonja's extensive and longstanding contributions to IRSCL and to research in children's literature, especially in Sweden. Sonja's first contact with IRSCL occurred in 1976 outside Stockholm, when she assisted Mary Ørvig and Göte Klingberg, who as secretary and chairman organised the symposium. After the Moscow conference in 1981 she was elected to the IRSCL Board and served as Secretary to Denise Escarpit in preparing the Bordeaux program in 1983, the same year in which she obtained her PhD and succeeded Mary Ørvig as director of the Stockholm Institute. Sonja served as Vice President until the conference at Montreal in 1985 and attended further IRSCL Congresses in Cologne, Salamanca, Paris, Stockholm and Kristiansand.
Helene Ehriander (Växjö University) received the award on Sonja's behalf and read her acceptance speech. Helene also outlined Sonja's contributions to IRSCL and to children's literature, pointing out that she has published and lectured nationally and internationally in the field since the late 1960s. Sonja's main research interests have been children's periodicals, young adult literature and the interaction of society and literature. She was responsible for sections on children's books in Sweden's most extensive history of literature and its leading modern encyclopaedia. From 1983 to 2005 Sonja was engaged as Director of the Swedish Institute for Children's Books. In this role she organized research conferences and was the editor of the Institute's biannual magazine and of some 70 titles in the Institute's professional series, in most cases offering authors professional advice and manuscript readings. She has been a member of diverse juries, including the Italian Rolando Anzilotti Award (1986-94) for outstanding international studies in the field and the Brothers Grimm Award of the Osaka Institute (1998-2008). She was on the advisory board of Bookbird (1997-98) and in retirement continues to pursue research into children's periodicals.
The IRSCL Fellowship awarded to Riitta Kuivasmäki recognises her service to IRSCL and to children's literature research in Finland. Riitta joined IRSCL in 1981 and served on the IRSCL Board from 1985 until 1989. In her second term on the Board she took on the responsibility of Treasurer with notable efficiency, computerising membership information for the first time. The Frankfurt Congress was the eighth Congress which Riitta attended.
Riitta Kuivasmäki has been one of the main pioneers of children's literature research in Finland. Her doctoral thesis was among the first studies ever written about children's literature in Finland, and she was the first academic to work in the field of children's literature in Finland. She initiated the founding of the Finnish Institute for Children's Literature in 1978, and was its first director, leading the institute from 1980 until her retirement in 1999. During her period as director of the Finnish Institute for Children's Literature she produced bibliographical material still used by Finnish scholars. Riitta has always encouraged young scholars and has initiated many projects. She has had many international interests, including a period as visiting scholar in the Osaka Institute of Children's Literature.
To celebrate Riitta's Fellowship the current group of young Finnish scholars wrote and performed the following song in her honour at the IRSCL Banquet:
Tanssi, Riitta, laula, Riitta,
on pränikkä nyt sulla,
kunnia on ikuinen ja lisääkin voi tulla!
Tutki, Riitta, tutki, Riitta,
kirjoja on monta,
koivu, tähti, Jörö-Jukka
-- ei oo mahdotonta!
A Finnish folk song melody
Lyrics by "The Young Finns"
Dance, Riitta, sing, Riitta, you've now been awarded,
The honour stays for ever, and there might be even more on the way!
Research, Riitta, research, Riitta, the books are so many,
A birch, a star, a Struwwelpeter - nothing is impossible!
(The birch and the star refer to a literary fairy tale of Zacharias Topelius after which the bibliography of Finnish juvenile literature published between 1543 and 1899 was named. The bibliography was written by Riitta Kuivasmäki, Marja Kukkonen and Marita Rajalin).
Ann Lawson Lucas
Ann Lawson-Lucas was a board member in the 1990s who organised both a symposium with publication and a congress with proceedings in the UK. The congress she managed in York, 1997 'The Presence of the Past in Children's Literature', made a significant contribution to the Society's funds which enabled us to support numerous travel and research grants. More recently she has been instrumental in approaching Edinburgh University Press and negotiating a contract that sees them publishing the IRSCL journal. In this process she not only gave her time and expertise to securing what is an important new development for the Society's future and status but she has also supported it in other ways, including by serving in a senior capacity on its advisory board.
Anne Scott MacLeod
Anne Scott MacLeod was President from 1985-89, a crucial period in the Society's history. She oversaw the creation of the by-laws and the regularisation of financial and congress arrangements. Under her leadership the IRSCL became a more robust and effective organisation for its members; without her efforts it might not have survived.
For many years, Jean Perrot was Director of the Institut International Charles Perrault, a centre for research in children's literature which he founded in Eaubonne in 1994. He has organized a host of international conferences and edited many important collections of essays. In 1991, he hosted the highly successful 10th Biennial IRSCL Congress in Paris, and then edited the proceedings of the congress, Culture, texte et jeune lecteur, which were published with the Presses Universitaires de Nancy in 1993. He has also served on the IRSCL Board of the IRSCL. Jean's indefatigable promotion of international exchange and collaboration in the study of children's literature has had a major impact on the field. In 2001 he was awarded the International Brothers Grimm Award.
The IRSCL Fellow was established in 2001 to honour someone who has made a significant contribution to the field of childrens literature research and to the IRSCL. The first recipient of the award in 2001 was Klaus Doderer, the first president of the IRSCL. The second IRSCL Fellow was announced at the farewell banquet of the Kristiansand congress by President Sandra Beckett; he is Göte Klingberg, who was the second president of the IRSCL from 1974-1978 (the fact that the first two Fellows are both past presidents is coincidental and does not set a precedent!). Unfortunately, Göte could not be present at the award ceremony.
Göte Klingberg was born in Loviisa, Finland in 1918, but his family returned to Sweden shortly thereafter. He studied theology and education at Lund University. His research on childrens literature began as a private interest in the 1950s. In 1962, he published Barnboken genom tiderna: en översikt and in 1964, he was awarded a doctorate at Uppsala University for a dissertation in educational history titled Svensk barn- och ungdomslitteratur 1591-1839, the very first Ph.D. thesis on childrens literature in Sweden.
Göte Klingberg has often been referred to as the father of Swedish research into childrens literature,, but I prefer Stefan Mählqvists designation of the Linnaeus of research on childrens books, because, like Linnaeus, Klingbergs work has had a major impact well beyond Swedish borders. What strikes one immediately on glancing through his bibliography is his vast, encyclopedic knowledge, the breadth of his cultural interest, and the scholarly rigour of his work. Among his first studies from the 1950s were an essay on the corrupted Latin liturgical formulas present in childrens rhymes and one on the complexity of the language of comic strips, which contradicted the claims of those who disparaged the genre at the time. He was concerned about the lack of a common terminology in the field and published in that area. He is also published surveys of existing research and research needs, the history of childhood, the history of the book, trends in the translation of childrens books, fantasy, etc. He has studied early imports of English picture books to Sweden, as well as a study of British landscapes in childrens books (Besök brittiska barnbokslandskap, 1987). In 1982, he began what Lena Törnqvist, in the Introduction to the bibliography of Klingbergs work, calls his magnus opus, a three-volume survey of childrens and young peoples book publishing in Sweden in the nineteenth century, which involved the tracking down, cataloguing, and classifying of every work published for young readers in Sweden from 1840-1889. This translates into the personal inspection of most of the almost 4,800 titles! This ground-breaking work has become the model for similar projects in other countries. His impressive output continues: Göte, who recently celebrated his 85th birthday, has completed two manuscripts in English that Sonja Svensson, Director of the Swedish Institute for Childrens Literature, hopes will appear in the series of the Swedish Institute for Childrens Literature, to which he has already contributed at least five titles.
Lena Törnqvist says that it was indirectly thanks to Klingbergs research that it was possible, in 1991, to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first childrens book in Sweden. In 1972, he was award the Swedish Gulliver Prize for his wide-ranging and pioneering works on childrens literature. About the same time, he was involved in the founding of the IRSCL. His significant contribution to the field in other countries, especially Germany, was recognized by Klaus Doderer and Theodor Brüggeman on the occasion of Götes 70th birthday in 1988. In 1989, his international contribution to the field was acknowledged when he was awarded the prestigious International Brothers Grimm Award.
This information was prepared by Sandra Beckett with the help of Sonja Svensson, Director of the Swedish Institute for Childrens Literature, who co-edited with Göte Klingberg a bibliography of his work in 2000. The book contains an excellent introduction by Lena Törnqvist, Senior Librarian at the Institute.