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Comment from the book world in September 2010

September 2010

'Literacy is essential'

27 September 2010

'When I was a child, we lived in a two-up, two down. We had no bath - it was a tin tub in the back yard. The toilet was at the end of the yard. The first six years of my life, we used to go over the road twice a day and fetch water from the well. We were too poor to own books. However, every night we were read a story, and those stories came from books, and those books came from the library. It was being read to that made the difference to me and I would say that the reason that I eventually became a teacher, a head teacher, an inspector and a writer, I can track back to our weekly visit to the library. Without that library, the world of literacy would not have opened up for me. Literacy is essential for a healthy, thriving society that gives everyone a chance. All children deserve the right to an imaginative and literate childhood.'

Pie Corbett, in an interview on the National Literacy TrustUK-based organisation which has campaigned since 1993 to improve literacy standards across all age groups. Excellent research information and details of the many initiatives the charity is currently involved in. It also has a useful page of news stories on UK literacy, which links to newsletter website

'A writer's passion'

20 September 2010

'A writer's passion, his belief in his work, is what keeps him going through those long, dark stretches when it seems as if no one is ever going to get it. But if a writer has got himself out there - just a toe in the water - then readers' passions come into play too, and in the age of Amazon and e-readers independent booksellers still have a huge role to play. A bookseller you trust is like a friend; you may not believe the reviews you read online, but if someone looks you in the eye and presses a book into your hands, that's different.'

Erica Wagner, Literary Editor of The Times

'Moral tales'

13 September 2010

'Some people think they know what my books are about when they haven't read them. They feel I'm in favour of bad behaviour or swearing. Some even think I write about drugs. There's nothing of that kind. Mostly, my books are about outsiders, kids who don't fit in. I feel they're quite moral tales, although they do show that there are things even loving parents can't always protect children from. Children recognize the truth of that...

I think you have to treasure the moment and go for what you want. Mostly, I'm quite happy. In my twenties and thirties I regretted not having had further education. I was silly enough to marry at 19, but those choices make you the person that you are. I'm very happy and secure.'

Jacqueline Wilson

'Passionate about history'

6 September 2010

'A lot of people love to get their history through historical fiction, so it's very important that what they read is as close to the truth as possible. Where the novelist uses her imagination is to fill in the gaps. But even then you can't let rip. What you write has to be credible within the context of what is known about that person. You can't indulge flights of fancy because that sells short both those who know a lot and those who know a little about the subject...

I use the same sources as academics, but I write my histories as narratives. History is full of great stories, great characters and wonderful detail. If you marry those together, you get something that you can infuse with passion. I'm passionate about history and I want other people to share that passion.'

Alison Weir in the Toronto Star