It is remarkable that so much classic fantasy writing was born in Oxford, starting with Lewis Carroll and continuing through to Tolkien, Lewis, Garner, you and Philip Pullman. You were taught by Tolkien, weren’t you?
Well, in theory Tolkien and Lewis taught us. I was reading English and Tolkien was lecturing on Anglo-Saxon literature. He used to begin his first lecture with the first few lines of Beowulf delivered with great panache in Anglo-Saxon.Lewis lectured on Renaissance literature. But of course the examination schools in Oxford are huge and I was part of an enormous audience. That was my only exposure, as the Americans say, to these two Fellows.
Jill Paton Walsh has a theory about the reason Oxford has given rise to this flourishing of fantasy literature is because the syllabus stopped at 1832. I think Tolkien and Lewis were responsible for that, because they believed that you should have a great grounding in early literature. Those of us who were reading English at Oxford were firmly rooted in Beowulf and Spenser. They taught us all to believe in dragons.Read more →
We're Going On A Bear Hunt is this year's Channel 4 Christmas animation. This much-loved picture book written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury has been brought to life by Lupus Films, whose previous work includes The Snowman and The Snowman and The Snowdog. This beautiful half-hour film, while still paying respect to the original text, introduces a back-story of love and loss.
Acclaimed British singer-songwriter George Ezra has written and recorded the theme song. The 23-year-old, whose debut album Wanted On Voyage was one of the UK’s best-selling of 2014, has penned a distinctive, sweet song called Me & You for the film’s soundtrack. Me & You marks the first time that George has composed a bespoke song for film or television.Read more →
Elen Caldecott graduated with an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and was highly commended in the PFD Prize for Most Promising Writer for Young People. Before becoming a writer, she was an archaeologist, a nurse, a theatre usher and a museum security guard. It was while working at the museum that Elen realised there is a way to steal anything if you think about it hard enough. Elen either had to become a master thief, or create some characters to do it for her - and so her début novel, How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant, was born. Kirsty Jenkins was short-listed for the Waterstone's Children's Prize and long-listed for the 2010 Carnegie Award. Kirsty Jenkins was followed by How Ali Ferguson Saved Houdini.
In this interview Elen talks to Nikki Gamble about her mystery series, The Marsh Road Mysteries.Read more →