24 November, 2009

Exhibition by Illustrators and Writers of Children's books

An exhibition by illustrators and writers of children's books was organised by the SCBWI Gauteng branch of the South African chapter of SCBWI.
The exhibition was opened on 3 November 2009 at the University of Pretoria by Professor Thomas van der Walt of UNISA. The guest speaker was Marjorie van Heerden, well-known illustrator and writer of children's books and founder of SCBWI in South Africa. She spoke about how adults are influenced by the books they read as children. Her visit to Gauteng was sponsored by Lapa Uitgewers. The work of over 25 writers and illustrators of children's books was displayed on the exhibition. The exhibitors included: Kalle Becker, Maryanne and Shayle Bester, Paddy Bouma, Je’Anna Clements, Hazel Cuthbertson, Carol Davies, Yvette de Beer, Julia du Plessis, Wendy Hartmann, Jenny Hatton, Jenn Hurlin, Derrick Hurlin, Themba Mabaso, Rob Owen, Louise Prinsloo, Marelise Prinsloo, Elizabeth Pulles, Joan Rankin, Maja Sereda, Nalini Pillay, Chantelle Thorne, Rozenn Torquebiau, Marjorie van Heerden, Samantha van Riet, Adelle van Zyl, Marlene (Paddy) Visser. It is not possible to single out the work of any exhibitor as each presented an individual style and approach to children's writing. The intention was not to compare but to showcase the work of writers and illustrators. Many exhibits attempted to show how illustrators illustrate and writers write. Some showed the style of an exhibitor, others showed enormous variety and others showed the development of a book. Visitors were able to view the exhibits while enjoying something to drink and eat. Thanks to Jacana Media for sponsoring the wine and to the exhibitors who arranged catering. Hedgehog Books and Sonkasteel Bookshop were on hand to sell books by South African writers and illustrators. These bookshops are run by Audrey Hitchcock and Ruth Bielfield respectively. Their support of South African children's books is highly appreciated. The Exhibition moved from the University of Pretoria to Alliance Francaise in Pretoria. Another opening was held on 12 November where guests were made very welcome by the director, Maguelonne Orliange-Ladsous. Veronique Tadjo, well-known writer and illustrator of children's books, was the guest speaker. As at the University of Pretoria, visitors were entertained by the music of talented illustrator and musician, Paddy Visser, who sang and played her saxophone. Thank you, Paddy! Alongside the exhibition, a number of workshops were held at Alliance Francaise for writers and illustrators of children's books as well as for children. There was an intensive workshop on drawing children which was presented by Marjorie van Heerden. Delegates thorougly enjoyed this day long workshop during which Marjorie generously shared her knowledge. Other superb workshops were conducted by Joan Rankin, Chantelle Thorne, Yvette de Beer and Nalini Sooknanan Pillay. Derrick Hurlin, Rob Owen, Julia du Plessis, Chantelle Thorne and Shayle Bester took part in an excellent panel discussion. Tickets for raffles were sold to help to cover costs. The two winners were: Rozenn Torquebiau - 14 South African children's books Barbara Sereda - 12 International children's books. The books for the raffles were donated by Jacana Media, Pan Macmillan and Maskew Miller Longman. Thanks to the hard-working team who did the initial preparation for the exhibition. A special thank you to Joan Rankin who ran workshops in preparation for the exhibition and inspired all of us to do our best. It's difficult to mention everyone because so many people helped but special thanks to Rozenn Torquebiau for all her work before and during the exhibition, to Jenn Hurlin for all her problem solving and to Yvette de Beer and her team for the physical mounting of the exhibits. There would not have been an exhibition without the work of all the exhibitors, many of whom helped out in various ways and gave up time to show visitors around. Thank you to Alliance Francaise and the University of Pretoria for the use of their venues. And finally, thank you to Rob Owen and Yvette de Beer for all their committee work behind the scenes. Jenny Hatton

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