Martin Chilton has a masters degree in American literature from the University of London and has worked in publishing and newspapers for 25 years. He has written several books on football and was for many years the sports editor of the Evening Standard, where he was also a columnist. He has worked at the Daily Telegraph since 2007 and has been the culture editor of telegraph.co.uk for the past four years. He writes about and reviews all aspects of children's literature, has chaired events on children’s books at the Hay Festival and Bath Festival of Children’s Literature, and in 2013 he was on the judging panel for the Read for My School national award.
Question & Answer
What books do you remember enjoying as a child?
I always loved Roald Dahl's stories and can remember the excitement of getting a new copy of Danny, the Champion of the World (in 1975, I'm not young!). I was in and out of Great Ormond Street hospital a lot as a child and I used to love reading Mrs Pepperpot stories by Alf Prøysen, which were imaginative and took you away from the place you were in.
Who are your favourite children's authors or illustrators?
There are so many fantastic children's writers that it's genuinely hard to choose. But I do believe we are now in a really vibrant era for children's books, whether it's picture books, novels for younger readers or bold new young adult fiction. And the future of digital publishing for children is exciting, too.
What books do you most enjoy sharing with your children?
It's been lovely to see my children all develop their own tastes. One son loved the Harry Potter books and novels by Eoin Colfer, another couldn't get enough of factual books and publications like Horrible Science. My youngest son is a great fan of the How to Train Your Dragon and Tom Gates series, and it's been fun following those with him.
How does it feel to be a Best Book Awards judge?
I'm absolutely delighted to be a judge, particularly as a part of a panel with writers whose work I admire so much. The more we can highlight good children's literature the better. Reading for pleasure is vital for youngsters (and adults) and helping promote children's literature is one of the best parts of my job.