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Comment from the book world in March 2024

March 2024

Children's creativity

18 March 2024

'The creative process is open to all. I don't believe in some magical creative gift, the exclusive possession of a few, nor need it concern big or sophisticated ideas. On the contrary, creativity may depend upon the recognition that our own thoughts and ideas are as valid as anyone else's; something which we knew as children, and which we were taught to unlearn. Our confidence in our ability to create is thus often undermined in our early lives, when we tend to believe what we are told...

If you teach children creatively in all subjects, instead of telling them that if they don't learn all those things then they have failed, then you nurture a delight, and a slightly more rambling, incidental learning...

When I go into schools, you can tell that inhibitions are just beginning at around seven. We start to edit ourselves. A lot of people say, 'Well, I'm not a creative person.' That's nonsense. We all are. Take the fact that you want to look at things and listen to things means you are a creative person. You can use those things to build a sort of inner store that you can use in your own creativity as well...

A book that gets backed is one that sells a lot. As publishers get bigger and more powerful, they become more like supermarkets, and are much more interested in a lot of books by one person. It totally makes sense. But the problem is that our children are all different, so they're not all going to like the same kind of book. Maybe they'd be brave enough to try something else if only they knew about it. Books are not only there to entertain - they're to help us feel understood, and to help us understand other people, and to stand in their shoes. You can do that very safely in a book...'

Lauren Child, prolific children's author and former UK Children's Laureate, and the author of 12 Charlie and Lola books, 6 Clarence Bean books, 6 Ruby Redfort books, 6 Hubert Horatio books and 10 other children's books, in Bookbrunch

Lauren Child's website


Writing a book a year

4 March 2024

'You want to write the twist so that it doesn't suddenly come out of nowhere. I tried to see a few things so that (the reader) thinks, of course! But it is hard to get that balance I think, of trying to get a twist in that is unguessable but not too "out there". My editor doesn't know what the story is about, she knows roughly, but she doesn't know the twists, so it's good to have a fresh pair of eyes...

To be honest, I didn't even know what the term psychological thriller was, it was only what the publishers called it...

Writing in lockdown, 'So that was a bit of freedom in a way, I didn't have any expectations almost. Now there's a bit more pressure because you want to keep writing books that people are going to like. But I try not to think too much about it because otherwise I don't think I'd write anything!'

Claire Douglas, author of 8 books, including The Girls Who Disappeared (a Richard and Judy Book Club choice), The Couple at No 9 and The Wrong Sister (to be published in March) in The Boookseller