What an exciting day it’s been in the world of Chicken and Frog! Although we went to the London Book Fair primarily to meet publishers and the like, we also had the opportunity to meet authors. Sadly we missed Patrick Ness today (boo), but we did manage to be in the audience for the interview between Lindsay Mackie (English PEN’s Readers and Writers Committee) and the rather fantastic Anthony Horowitz. I know, THE Anthony Horowitz!
It was a very relaxed set up, which meant that the audience felt a real connection with Horowitz. The questions ranged from the differences between writing for children and adults, libraries, schools, violence in children’s fiction and the inspiring work that Horowitz takes part in when he visits young offenders in prison. When asked about the latter, Horowitz replied that ‘in a very very dark tunnel [reading] is a spark of light.’
The importance of libraries, in particular school libraries, came up. He believes wholeheartedly that the school library saved his life, that books saved him when he was at school. Although an advocate of e-books, he said ‘I don’t believe the book is finished…I think they’re with us for a long time.’ That was probably a highlight for me! I think there was an audible smile and nod response from the audience. The fact that Horowitz writes his first draft in fountain pen, on real paper was also good to hear. Of course, final drafts are submitted via a laptop, but how wonderful to hear that the physicality of writing lives on.
At one point Horowitz suggested that it may be ‘time for new younger talent’ to come to the fore. I think that it’s fair to say that no-one agreed with that statement. He went on to say that he is ‘writing for a very visual generation…everything is image…you have to write visually, as if you’re writing a film.’ In no way is this prolific writer out of touch with the demands of the next generation of young readers.
I look forward with great anticipation to whatever Anthony Horowitz has to offer next, whether it be a screenplay, a novel, a short story or a play-script…and I am a very grateful chicken for seeing and hearing the man himself today!