Sunday, June 15, 2008

Summer is the season of book tents


This week, I'm doing an event at Edinburgh's Old Town Festival, as part of REFUGEE WEEK (see wed 18th June). On Friday I'll be in Kelso at the Borders Book Festival. There will be heart-stopping visuals and I'll bring you face to face with the real, world-shattering SOS that lies behind the epic stories of EXODUS, ZENITH and AURORA.

And I hope the nice SLA conference people I spoke to yesterday enjoyed their night in the badlands of Glasgow...

There's also my FUTURE SHOCK event at the Edinburgh Book Festival 25th August, with inspiration from Bladerunner, The Matrix - and the Sex Pistols. Well, why not?

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.