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Comment from the book world in April 2008

April 2008

'The ultimate magic'

21 April 2008

'Done badly, fantasy is more risible than any other genre, perhaps because there is such a fine line between heroic endeavour and bathos. Success isn't just a matter of consistency (Tolkien despaired of C S Lewis when he introduced Christian myths such as Father Christmas into a world with nymphs and satyrs). A gifted writer makes the mundane magical and the magical mundane. We believe in everything they tell us because the ultimate magic is to make us think that what they describe is true.'

Amanda Craig in The Times

Going beyond ‘why don’t boys read?'

14 April 2008

'What surprised me is that nobody states what is blindingly obvious - that literature/literacy still represents the biggest demarcation in 21st century society. That dreary old question - why don't boys read? - is an enormous red herring. Come to one of my book signings and, I'm afraid to say, you could easily imagine yourself to be in one of those southern states of America before Martin Luther King. Where are the black kids? Boys and girls from ethnic minorities are so rare that when one turns up, I almost want to sweep them into my arms.

Malorie Blackman and Benjamin Zephaniah may entice a more ethnically mixed audience, but the answer can't be black writers for black kids and white for white. We cannot be cosy about the debate any more.'

Anthony Horowitz, author of Snakehead and many other bestsellers, in the Bookseller

The return of the bonkbuster

7 April 2008

'I was in the airport lounge at Heathrow, wanting something big and juicy for the sun lounger and looking in the commercial women's fiction section. I'd read everything that Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper had to offer. Everything else at the lighter-weight end was misery memoirs and chick lit. I just thought, this really isn't what I wanted. I wanted Valley of the Dolls, Lace: the sort of books that seemed to be out of vogue... Storytelling is key. I don't think you can write 160,000 words on sex and shopping.'

Tasmina Perry, author of Gold Diggers, in The Times