The University of British Columbia Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program
The Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable
A talk by world-renowned children’s literature critic and historian, Leonard Marcus
“‘Let the Wild Rumpus Start’: Maurice Sendak as Storyteller and Psychologist”
Friday, October 12th, 2012, 4:30 – 5:30 PM
The Lillooet Room, Room 301, Level 3, Chapman Learning Commons,
Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, University of British Columbia
Refreshments served
Book sales and signing
Free — No registration necessary
Maurice Sendak, foremost picture-book creator of the 20th century, died on May 8th 2012. Noted children’s book historian Leonard Marcus, drawing on his incisive research, conversations with members of the psychological community, and wide-ranging interviews with Sendak, the creator of Max, Mickey, and friends, presents a rare glimpse into the life and work of the most original children’s book artist of our time.
Leonard Marcus is a world-renowned children’s literature critic, children’s book historian, curator of children’s book illustration exhibitions, and interviewer of authors and illustrators. Described as “one of the children’s book world’s most engaging speakers,” he is a children’s book reviewer for the New York Times, a columnist on illustrated books for The Horn Book Magazine, a judge on national American children’s book juries, and a prolific author who has written highly acclaimed books and hundreds of articles on children’s literature and publishing.
Among his over 20 books are: Minders of Make Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and theShaping of American Children’s Literature, winner of the Children’s Literature Association Book Award; Show Me A Story: Why Picture Books Matter; The Annotated Phantom Tolbooth; Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom; Golden Legacy: How Golden Books Won Children’s Hearts, Changed Publishing Forever, and Became an American Icon Along the Way; and Magaret Wise Brown: Awakened by the Moon.
Leonard Marcus has been a consultant to the Whitney Museum of American Art, National Book Foundation, All for Kids Foundation, Norman Rockwell Museum, National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, and Book Globe Company Ltd (Japan). He is a member of the national board of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature ( and the Mazza Museum national advisory board.He holds degrees in history from Yale and poetry from the University of Iowa Graduate Writers’ Workshop. In 2007, Leonard Marcus was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Bank Street College of Education. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.
This colloquium is sponsored by the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable and the University of British Columbia Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program,
a Multidisciplinary Degree Program offered by two faculties:  the Creative Writing Program, Department of English and the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies in the Faculty of Arts; and the Language and Literacy Education Department in the Faculty of Education.
The Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable plans a series of annual events and conferences to bring award-winning authors, illustrators, editors and publishers to speak with students and Vancouver’s dynamic children’s literature community.

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Images from Belkin art exhibition

Geng Jianyi, Excessive Transition series, 2008. 15 gelatin silver prints, steel and magnets. Courtesy of the artist and ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai. Photo: Michael Barrick.

Excessive Transition, a new art installation from Geng Jianyi, is now on display at Koerner Library until August 19.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Yellow Signal: New Media in China at the UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery, Excessive Transition (2008) is Chinese artist Geng Jianyi’s second contribution to a city-wide investigation of current media art production in China.

For this installation of Excessive Transition, Jianyi chose fifteen black-and-white hand-printed photographic prints of glass bottlenecks. These images show Jianyi’s technical playfulness, both in the darkroom and in his use of the depth of field of the camera. The prints demonstrate the distance between each object photographed and the window and cityscape outside as he repetitively frames each bottle as a form analogous to the human body. 

As Karen Smith suggests, for Jianyi, “Process has become as important as concept.” In Excessive Transition the artist has dramatically evidenced a trace of past processes of production. He presents photography as a powerful and versatile mechanism for artistic production that creates an awareness of present day consumption and complicates the work of the artwork. Jianyi refuses to simplify the existence of the objects portrayed to their mere utilitarian value and opts instead to surrender the bottlenecks, fathoming their content into a whimsical vision of unrest.

- From an essay by Fabiola Carranza, MFA candidate, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory

This work is part of Art in the Library, a collaborative project initiated in 2008 by the Belkin Art Gallery and Koerner Library to bring art to the UBC community. The program aims to open possibilities for interpretation and to create new perspectives from where to experience contemporary art.

About the Artist

Geng Jianyi was born in Zhenzhou in 1962. He now works out of Hangzhou, where he teaches at the China Academy of Art. Jianyi first gained recognition for his involvement with the avant-garde ‘85 New-Wave or ’85 Movement, a group formed by performance-based artists who used photography to document their conceptual efforts. His photographs explore the collective consent that enables us to identify mass-produced objects and how these objects in turn can offer us a sense of familiarity and self-identity in everyday life. Originally trained and recognized as a painter, Geng’s recent works have focused on the use of photography and video technologies. His interests are varied and his work explores issues of individuality and identity through his experience of daily life, friendships, and work.

Further reading:

  • Smith, Karen. “The Art of Duplicity.” In Chinese New Art, Post-1989. Hong Kong: Hanart Gallery, 1993.
  • Smith, Karen. “Zero to Infinity: The Nascence of Photography in Contemporary Chinese Art of the 1990’s.” In Reinterpretation: A Decade of Experimental Chinese Art (1990-2000), edited by Wu Hang. Guangzhou: Guangdong Museum of Art, 2002.

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