21 January 2008

School talk

Invited by my old friend Paul Ryan to go down to Sherborne to speak yesterday on 'Books and Reading', as part of a reading week being held at the school, where students are being encouraged to read from a particular selection of books including 'Boy in the Striped Pyjamas', 'Looking for JJ', 'Purple Hibiscus', 'Kavalier & Clay', et al.

The talk was I think (I hope) OK, though rather free-form; talking to a couple of hundred students for 45 mins is always fine, but doing it on a big vague subject more or less without notes makes it a much more fun experience, tho' a little dangerous too, and I hope I didn't ramble too much... Some good questions ("What can a book do that a film can't?"; and in response to my comment that I think there are too many books published in this country, the reasonable question, "Well, then how many should we have?"), which I find the most fun bit always...

I've been down to speak at Sherborne before (really so beautiful - always arrive there and think, "Why don't I live here?") and always impressed with the students there. After the talk Paul and I had lunch with the librarian and a few of her reading group, who talked with great interest and enthusiasm about Adrian Mole, the Inheritance series, Harry Potter books/films/translations, and the idiocies of George W. Bush. As always, confident, polite (one of the Sherborne boys called me 'sir' when I bumped in to him later on the train) and really interested in books. What a good place to be.

Read 'Ottoline and the Yellow Cat' this weekend, and smiled an awful lot. What a genius Chris Riddell is.


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