I don't remember when I got interested in children's literature. I mean, I always loved children's books, even when I should be growing out of them; but I remember when I was in upper secondary school my great-aunt tried to entice me into School of Librarianship, where she worked, by mentioning that you could study children's literature as an academic subject. I also remember my mother suggesting that I study Swedish because I liked Astrid Lindgren. So it all began before I went to university.
I then took a long and winding road to children's literature, but I always had a vision of a research centre. When I applied for a chair in Stockholm - goodness, twelve years ago - a centre was on my programme. I had a good experience when I was involved in a project in Finland: it was physically a centre, where a group of researchers worked day to day, with lunch seminars and scholarly discussions over afternoon tea. In San Diego I was very close to a centre, but it fell through then. They did get a centre after I had left.
So when we opened the Cambridge/Homerton Research and Teaching centre for children's literature last week it was a dream of a lifetime come true.