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Ian Serraillier, publisher: reading, writing and adapting books for schoolchildren in postwar England

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Self-Funded PhD Students Only
    Self-Funded PhD Students Only

Project Description

The history of publishing for children is an emerging research field within book and publishing history. It explores the key role played by publishers in the production of books designated as being ‘for children’.

This project looks at the work of the well-known children’s author Ian Serraillier (1912-1994), in his role as director of the New Windmills series for the large educational publisher Heinemann. Serraillier founded this new series with his wife in 1948, with the aim of producing quality literature in inexpensive editions for schools, and which he co-edited until the 1990s. The project is based around the extensive archive material held at the University of Reading relating to Serraillier. The Special collections holds both his personal papers and the the New Windmills series in the Heinemann Educational Books archive. Serraillier was a Quaker, conscientious objector, and the author of the classic children’s novel The Silver Sword (1956) which follows four Polish children looking for their parents in war-torn Europe. The archive material relating to his extensive editorial work, notably his book choices for the series, how the texts were produced, presented and adapted to make them both appropriate for and appealing to schools, as well as his relationships with authors, illustrators and teachers, offers important insights into changing ideas on the young and their education in the aftermath of World War Two.

The successful candidate will be based in the University of Reading’s Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing. The University of Reading is an internationally-recognised centre of excellence for research in book cultures and publishing history, supported by renowned collections in book, publishing and printing history. These holdings include important archives and research material relating to children’s literature, and two of the Centre’s founding directors are specialists in children’s books and publishing (Dr Sophie Heywood and Professor Sue Walker). The Centre has a vibrant community of postgraduate and doctoral researchers working in these fields, with extensive opportunities for participating in research seminars, training workshops and conferences. There will also be opportunities to connect with the University’s Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media.

Funding Notes

This is eligible to self-funded students or students who have already gained funding from a body external to the UoR.

See the admission requirements for PhD programme in our department.


How good is research at University of Reading in English Language and Literature?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 27.00

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