Cressida Cowell’s tenure as Children’s Laureate has been extended by 12 months due to the coronavirus outbreak, it has been announced.
The author, known for books including the How To Train Your Dragon series, took the role in July 2019 and had been set to step down next year.
However, organisers BookTrust said the “exceptional circumstances” created by the pandemic meant Cowell will serve a three-year term, staying until June 2022.
Did you hear the fantastic news? Our wonderful Waterstones #ChildrensLaureate @CressidaCowell will be in post for an extra year to make sure she has time for all of her exciting plans.— BookTrust (@Booktrust) April 16, 2020
Now feels like a good time to revisit her wonderful Laureate charter: https://t.co/eAmBXR7M40 pic.twitter.com/lcVAYXD2DK
The extension will give her the opportunity to “ensure that the ambitions laid out at the start of her tenure can become a reality and make a tangible difference to children’s lives”, BookTrust said.
Cowell said: “Thank you to BookTrust for extending my laureateship so that we can take this time to adapt our plans in progress to best face this challenging moment.
“It is when times are hardest that we need the transformative magic of books and creativity the most. To bring books into the hands of each and every child in the UK is going to require some practical magic and action. I’m delighted to have this extra year to bring these plans to life.”
Jill Coleman, director of children’s books at BookTrust, said: “Anyone who has met Cressida, listened to her talk or read one of her books will know she is a true force for reading magic.
“This additional year as Waterstones Children’s Laureate will allow us all to do justice to Cressida’s boundless creativity, enthusiasm and determination, and create a legacy that will change children’s lives.”