Jamila Gavin and Justin Fletcher to be honoured in Action for Children’s Art’s J.M. Barrie Awards 2022
We are delighted to announce that as part of this year’s J.M. Barrie Awards ceremony, we are presenting our Lifetime Achievement Award to author Jamila Gavin FRSL, in recognition of her contribution to children’s literature. The J.M. Barrie Outstanding Contribution Award will be presented to actor and children’s television presenter Justin Fletcher MBE, also known as Mr Tumble, in recognition of his positive impact on the world of children’s television.
The annual J.M. Barrie Awards celebrate people and organisations doing outstanding work within children’s arts and whose work, in the view of ACA, will stand the test of time. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on the afternoon of Thursday 10 November 2022 in the Delfont Room the Prince of Wales Theatre, a Delfont Mackintosh Theatre in London.
It was when she had her first child that Gavin realised there was a lack of children’s books about experiences of global majority children. This was her inspiration to start writing stories that reflected the multicultural world that her children were growing up in, and help children see themselves reflected in their own stories. Her 2000 novel, ‘Coram Boy’ won the Whitbread Children’s Book Award, and was adapted for stage at the National Theatre, London and New York.
Gavin wrote her first book ‘The Magic Tree and other stories’ in 1979. She has gone on to write numerous collections of myths, legends, and folk stories from different cultures, and has won a number of awards. Her children’s trilogy, 'The Wheel of Surya' is to be re-published this autumn to mark the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence and her new novel, 'Never Forget You', has just been published to great acclaim, by Farshore Books, a division of Harper Collins.
Actor, comedian and television presenter Fletcher is best known for his work on the BBC preschool channel, ‘CBeebies’. Justin specialises in slapstick comedy and does wonderful work with children with special needs. Justin and his makaton-signing alter ego, ‘Mr Tumble’ have become heroes to all children (and grateful parents) for over 20 years.
Fletcher hosts a variety of children’s television shows including 'Gigglebiz’, ‘Justin’s House’ and the multi-award winning, ‘Something Special', and he has voiced a number of BBC Children’s characters including Harold in 'Thomas the Tank Engine' and ‘Shaun the Sheep’. He also regularly performs in pantomimes. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2008 Fletcher was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for “services to children’s broadcasting and the voluntary sector”, and for his previous 25 years of work on children’s television.
Regarding this year’s J.M. Barrie Awards, ACA Chair and founder Vicky Ireland MBE said:
“Children are citizens now. The arts practitioners who specialise in entertaining and inspiring them and triggering their imaginations deserve, Action for Children’s Arts believes, public recognition. This is the 17th year of the J.M. Barrie Awards. We are so very proud to honour Jamila and Justin and our Members’ Award winners. They are all brightly-shining beacons in the vibrant world of children’s arts.”
Previous winners of ACA’s Lifetime Achievement Award have included Sir Philip Pullman CBE, Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE, and Sir Quentin Blake. 2021’s Outstanding Contribution Award went jointly to BAFTA Kids and children’s mental health charity Place2Be, in recognition of the incredible partnership they have shared since 2017 in promoting mental wellbeing and the importance of creativity in young people’s lives.