Brighton Festival 2019Public booking opens: Fri 24 Feb, 9am

Michael Rosen wins Argus Angel

Michael Rosen has been awarded an Argus Angel after leaders of the city’s arts scene hailed him as the greatest Guest Director to date.

The 67-year-old children’s author has been a constant presence over the last three weeks and involved in many shows.

From lending his hands and eyes for the Festival front cover to leading hundreds of youngsters in creating a new piece of music in The Great Enormo, he has secured himself as a fans’ favourite.

Jon Barrenechea, the manager of the Duke of York’s cinema, praised him for his “accessibility” across the three weeks.

He said: 'A lot of these people seem to live in their ivory tower that they have constructed, but he verymuch lives in the real world.

'Of all the guest directors he has certainly been the most accessible. I’ve seen him walking around and chatting with people – he has been great.

'He can talk and relate to people of all ages. The Argus Angel is thoroughly deserved.'

Laurence Hill, the manager of Fabrica gallery in Duke Street, said that his popularity with all ages was key.

He added: 'Because he is so well-known in a kind of democratic way I think he engaged and has been more accessible than others have been.

'He is very deserving of an Angel.'

Among the events the London-based writer has been involved in include his In Conversation with veteran author Judith Kerr, the screening of his favourite book Emil and The Detectives and a debate on the future of education staged by The Guardian.

He has also appeared on various national TV and radio shows promoting both the Festival and the city.

Duncan Hall, an entertainment reporter for The Argus, said: 'His character and personality has been imprinted across the programme and I can’t think of anyone who has had such a major influence on what is going on.

'He has been everything a guest director should be. It has been a pleasure having him here in Brighton.'

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of the Festival, said: 'He has entertained, educated and moved audiences of all ages during his time in Brighton.

'Michael has the infectious energy of a polymath and is curious about and interested in everything – he has been perfect for such an eclectic and wide-ranging festival as ours. Thank you Michael.'

Geoffrey Bowden, the chair of Brighton and Hove City Council’s culture committee, said: 'His energy and enthusiasm has been truly phenomenal. He has set a high benchmark for future guest directors to aim for. The Argus Angel award is well deserved.'

The outgoing mayor of Brighton and Hove, Bill Randall, who led the Children’s Parade with the Guest Director, added: “He has been fantastic.

'His enthusiasm and passion should be applauded and he richly deserves an Argus Angel.'

Ben James, The Argus
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