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Gallimard Jeunesse: publishing a book of French poetry


Gallimard Jeunesse: my French publishers
Quentin Blake Artist
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I've been very fortunate with French publication of my work. The first book that was published, I think it was the first book, the first book that was published by Gallimard anyway, Gallimard Jeunesse, was Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile, which was the first book of his that I did. And within a year or two after that it was published there. And… my publisher there then was Christine Baker and she still is, what is it now? 30 years later, I suppose. And I'm… that was very fortunate for me… it was a great asset because, partly because she was very enthusiastic about what I was doing, but partly also because she's married to an Englishman she has an office in London and part of her job, of course, is to keep an eye on everything that's published in English. And they do buy, take on a lot of that. So it means that, since then, pretty well all the picture books I do have been published by Gallimard Jeunesse and I've got to know them very well. And when I… the publisher of… who really started Gallimard Jeunesse was Pierre Marchand who is very interested in… I mean he started a lot of, sort of, self-education series, you know, and factual, non-fiction things and things about travel and about sailing and so on. And he was sort of incidentally interested in children's books. But most of that was done by Christine and by Hedwige Pasquet who's now the Managing Director since Pierre Marchand died. And so I've got to know them very well and it's very nice to go and see them there and, in some ways, I've an almost more continuous relationship with them than I do with any English publisher, although I've always been published by Jonathan Cape and I've known Tom Maschler well, but not well personally as I know the people who run Gallimard. And so that has given a sort of interesting other dimension and, in fact, I… and I have got round to doing things, eventually, the things for them. I mean the book that I talked about, Un bateau dans le ciel, or The Sailing Boat in the Sky [sic], actually was offered to them but Christine said, I think you need to get it out very quickly, and we do 365 books a year, or something like that should perhaps take it to an individual publisher. And they recommended Alain Serres who was one of their authors, in fact. But everything else has been… almost everything else has been published by them. Certainly all my own books and all of Dahl's books and a number of others, and John Yeoman's books have been published by them.

Quentin Blake, well loved British writer and illustrator, is perhaps best known for bringing Roald Dahl's characters to life with his vibrant illustrations, and for becoming the first ever UK Children's Laureate. He has also written and illustrated his own books including Mr Magnolia which won the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Listeners: Ghislaine Kenyon

Ghislaine Kenyon is a freelance arts education consultant. She previously worked in gallery education including as Head of Learning at the Joint Education Department at Somerset House and Deputy Head of Education at the National Gallery’s Education Department. As well as directing the programme for schools there, she curated exhibitions such as the highly successful Tell Me a Picture with Quentin Blake, with whom she also co-curated an exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris in 2005. At the National Gallery she was responsible for many initiatives such as Take Art, a programme working with 14 London hospitals, and the national Take One Picture scheme with primary schools. She has also put on several series of exhibition-related concerts. Ghislaine writes, broadcasts and lectures on the arts, arts education and the movement for arts in health. She is also a Board Member of the Museum of Illustration, the Handel House Museum and the Britten-Pears Foundation.

Tags: Gallimard Jeunesse, The Enormous Crocodile, London, Jonathan Cape, Un bateau dans le ciel, Roald Dahl, Christine Baker, Pierre Marchand, Hedwige Pasquet, Tom Maschler, Alain Serres, John Yeoman

Duration: 3 minutes, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2006

Date story went live: 24 January 2008