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Success story 6 Heaney and Carle


Success stories: Seamus Heaney and Eric Carle

This week we have not one but two success stories, those of the Nobel Laureate poet Seamus Heaney and the children's writer Eric Carle.

Heaney has this week added to his list of achievements the David Cohen Prize for Literature, a much-prized lifetime achievement award of £40,000. The winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature and also the T S Eliot Prize for Poetry, he is regarded by many as the foremost English language poet of our times.

As our reporter noted, it was not difficult to guess this year's winner. Bookbrunch said it was 'the worst-kept secret in the award's history. Leaks appeared to be confirmed by the sight of the poet checking what looked suspiciously like a speech, while all around him guests exchanged kisses and drank champagne. But Heaney's victory may also have been the most popular. The £40,000 Prize, given for a body of work and funded by an arts-loving former GP, has gone to some illustrious names down the years, among them William Trevor, Muriel Spark and Michael Holroyd; but it gave Andrew MotionEnglish poet, novelist and biographer; Poet Laureate of United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009; during his laureateship founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work, ending his decade as Chair of Cohen judges and as Poet Laureate, particular pleasure to present it to Heaney.'

This week also marked the 40th anniversary of Eric Carle's much-loved children's classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Translated into more than 45 languages, the book has now sold some 29 million copies, and it's estimated that, every 30 seconds, someone somewhere in the world is buying a copy.

Generations of children have enjoyed the book. Francesca Dow, MD of Puffin, said: 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar remains one of Puffin's best-selling titles. Its enduring appeal lies in its deceptive simplicity, as there is also so much to learn from it, like the days of the week, colours, a variety of foods, counting and so on. We expect it will continue to munch its way into children's hearts for many generations to come!'

Our last Success Story: Michelle Harrison