Friday, June 6, 2008

Revolting authors and children


It takes a lot to get the nation's children's authors, a peaceable lot, to amass in an uprising. But this week Philip Pullman led an outpouring of dismay over some UK publishers' plans to put age recommendations, without consultation, on our books. So much has been said by authors and publishers and journalists, but the most important views, surely, are those of young readers.

Which says it all, really.

If you want to find out why so many authors, including all four Children's Laureates and some of our most wonderful writers and illustrators, such as Alan Garner, felt the need to say 'not in our name' to the proposed plans, have a look here and here and here and here and here... and there's a good summary of both arguments here.

Here are Philip Pullman and Darren Shan, and an excellent post at Fidra Books where Alan Garner comments.

If I had never read the books of Alan Garner (as with Ursula Le Guin) I might not be a writer today. I have read Alan Garner, as many people do, at ten years old, at fifteen and as an adult, and each time I find something startling and new. The impossibility of age-banding his novels hits on what is wrong with the uninspired commercial impulse of this idea - a dull, wrong-headed, narrow marketing approach that completely goes against the grain of what the wide-open universe of books is all about.

4 comments:

bookwitch said...

You authors may be revolting, but surely all children are cute?

Sorry about that.

Can you recommend any good books for 52-year-olds?

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

You mean you don't secretly find all authors cute too?

Cute as kittens, we are. Every one of us.

Age-banding for adults is obviously the way to go and I propose you start the uprising, bookwitch. www.sayyestoagebandingforbigpeople.org? Oh go on...

bookwitch said...

You're saying I'm fat? (You'd be right.)

I have added my bit to the discussion here.
http://bookwitch.wordpress.com/2008/06/12/revolting-authors/
Sorry for stealing your heading.

JULIE BERTAGNA said...

No! As if I would. Big in the sense of I'm-not-very-tall-so-like-to- think-of-myself-as-big, maybe. The only person in this long-legged household who's smaller than me is the rabbit...

Anyway, fat bits (I tell myself) are just physical memories of the nice times I've had with a cake : )