Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Suitable for Children?

Philip Kerr (author of the Children of the Lamp series) weighs in on the G.P. Taylor kerfuffle in one of the most hilarious articles on children's writers I've read in a long time (in the Independent).

Kerr writes that an American tour taught him how to behave himself early: "A three-week tour of American schools in 2004 left me convinced me that it is impossible to be too conservative when it comes to speaking engagements involving children." He then elaborates on the public personae of writers from the "the two queerest fish flapping in the sandpit of children's literature" (Lewis Carroll and J.M. Barrie) to writers who didn't even like children (the list is long here but includes Enid Blyton and A.A. Milne). Kerr himself is opting for the "old git" persona perfected by Roald Dahl. I think that's preferable to the spinster one Kerr mentions at the beginning of his piece as the most common perception of a children's author.

A very fun read.

(I didn't know Ransome's wife was Russian and secretary to Trotsky! How interesting.)