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Chrissie Gittins

(b. )

"Chrissie Gittins knows just what words can do: she makes them dance, sing, sit still for a moment and then leap across the page with joy!"

- Ian McMillan

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Select bibliography

  • Now You See Me, Now You..., Rabbit Hole Publications, 2002
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  • Armature, Arc Publications, 2003
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  • I Don't Want an Avocado for an Uncle, Rabbit Hole Publications, 2006
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  • Family Connections, Salt, 2007
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  • I'll Dress One Night as You, Salt, 2009
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  • Michael Rosen's A-Z, Puffin, 2009
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  • The Humpback's Wail, Rabbit Hole Publications, 2010
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  • Chrissie Gittins Reading from Her Poems, The Poetry Archive, 2012
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Chrissie Gittins' poetry for children is rich and varied in both form and subject; her three collections are bursting with everything from limericks to list poems, shape-poems to songs, and manage to be silly, scary, funny, sad and exciting all at the same time, often within the same poem.

The poems play with language, exploring the way we speak and shout, sing and write, and how the world all around is translated through words. She invokes the magic of new and unknown words by repeating them or listing them to a rhythm; 'main mast, mizzen mast, fore mast, shot lockers, bowsprit, gripe'.

She uses call-and-response to ask unusual questions; 'When is a boy not a boy? When he’s a plank of wood'. These surreal observations are often approached through double-meanings, special words and images to create and enrich a world in which – 'the stars wear sparkly socks', a solar-power fairy skims over our gardens as we lie asleep, and spent time is stored in lost property at Euston and Paddington. She is a writer who truly understands the inner world of a child’s imagination, replete with secret friends, talismans and the special hideaways and magical places of childhood – the tent made under the bedclothes with a torch, the hiding-place in the supermarket, the garage – and she knows how to speak to this world through her poems.

Chrissie Gittins has been awarded a number of prestigious prizes for her short fiction and poetry, both for adults and children, and her work has appeared on television and the radio. Both her first and second collections for children, Now You See Me, Now You... and I Don't Want an Avocado for an Uncle were shortlisted for a CLPE Poetry Award (in 2003 and 2007 respectively), and were both selected as a Poetry Book Society Choice for the Children's Poetry Bookshelf (2006 and 2010), an accolade also awarded to her third collection for children published in 2010, The Humpback’s Wail.

Chrissie Gittins was born in Lancashire and lives in London.

Prizes

2010 Poetry Book Society Choice

2009 Arts Council Writers' Award

2007 CLPE Award (shortlisted)

2007 Authors Foundation Award

2006 Poetry Book Society Choice

2005 Arts Council Writers Award

2003 CLPE Award (shortlisted)

2002 Belmont Poetry Prize (for individual children's poems)

2002 Royal Literary Fund Award

2001 Society of Authors Award

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