Chris Riddell delivers the 2017 Philippa Pearce Lecture

Photo Credit: Stephen Bond. Chris Riddell (centre) standing in the gardens of Homerton College, University of Cambridge having just delivered the Pearce Lecture 2017. To his left  (from the left) Philippa Pearce’s grandson Will and Professor Geoff Ward, Principal of Homerton College. To his right (from the right) Sally Christie (Philippa’s daughter) Nat (Philippa’s grandson) and Louise Joy from the Pearce Lecture committee.

Celebrated illustrator and political cartoonist Chris Riddell delivered the 2017 Philippa Pearce Lecture on 'The Age of the Beautiful Book' to a full house at Homerton College on Friday, 8 September. His talk focused on the role of beautiful books in encouraging young readership, his own initiation into the social media age and his creative process towards new artistic projects. The lecture also featured live illustrations by Chris, a short question and answer session and a book signing.
Thanking him, Louise Joy, Fellow in English at the College and a member of the Philippa Pearce Lecture organising committee, said: 

Chris's sumptuous lecture prompted us to reflect on the profundity and thrill of art not just when it has been painstakingly worked and reworked until it is perfected, but also when it is produced spontaneously, unfolding before us in real time to ignite that inexpressible something that mere prose can never approximate.

Philippa Pearce died in 2006, but respect and affection for her writing is as strong as ever. In her memory, a series of lectures is now underway, each intended to celebrate excellence in writing for children. The inaugural lecture was held at the College on 11 September 2008 and focused on Philippa Pearce's own writing and contribution to children's literature. Subsequent lectures have ranged more widely and speakers have included Michael Rosen, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, Malorie Blackman, Kevin Crossley-Holland, Meg Rosoff, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, and Allan Ahlberg. The 2018 Lecture will be given by Frances Hardinge on 19 April 2018.
A film of the 2017 lecture will soon be made available to watch on the Philippa Pearce website (