- How did you come to study at Wolfson College?
Living in Mexico in pre-internet days meant I had very little information about colleges. I came to Wolfson not only because I wanted to be with students who were about my age but also because I saw from the brochure that Wolfson was a modern college and therefore I thought it was more likely to have a good heating system as well as showers!
- What is your current occupation and how did you get into this role?
I did a PhD at the Faculty of Education, on young adult literature and reluctant readers. After that I did a bit of teaching for the Faculty and on several research projects, one of which resulted in a book co-authored with Morag Styles, Children Reading Pictures, which set me on the path of most of the research projects that followed. In 2004 I moved with my husband and children to Scotland and after a few years I was offered a part-time post as a lecturer in children’s literature in the School of Education at the University of Glasgow. Eventually I began working full time there and last year was appointed Professor of Children’s Literature (the first in Scotland).
- What do you most enjoy about your job?
I was very lucky to end up with a job which involves what I always wanted to do: study and teach children’s literature. I have the best excuse to read children’s and YA books, even now that my daughters have grown up. I can introduce students to the benefits of enjoying and working with these books in the classroom and at the moment I am involved in research projects using picture books with migrant children in different countries. I also lead an Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Programme, “Children’s literature, media and culture” with five other universities; for us to be able to offer scholarships to young people from all over the world to come to this programme is a dream come true.
- How have your studies at Wolfson helped you in your career?
Although my life in Wolfson revolved more around social than the academic activities, it was a very supportive environment. I made good friends there from many different countries. It was also a peaceful place, with lovely gardens for sitting and reading or chatting. Activities such as the film club and salsa dancing were a welcome relief from studying.
- What is your fondest memory of your time at Wolfson?
Although it may sound strange, my fondest memory was when I got chicken pox (probably from doing fieldwork in schools) and as an adult I got it badly. I only told my close friends (rather than the College tutors, which of course was very irresponsible on my part). Because I had a high fever, could hardly open my eyes and definitely not leave my room, my friends (including my now husband) would bring me food and lend me cassette tapes!
- What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
It’s more of a proverb: “Lo bailado nadie te lo quita” (what you have danced, no one can take away); in other words, carpe diem
- Which book has had the greatest impact on you?
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I was so overwhelmed and intrigued by it that I chose Latin American literature as my undergraduate degree.