Rosemary Sutcliff can write for children | Brain impaired Martin Amis cannot

Rosemary Sutcliff found writing for children only a small gear change, unlike Martin Amis

Rosemary Sutcliff often said she wrote “for children aged 8 to 88” or sometimes “9 to 90”. She once said:

“The themes of my children’s books are mostly quite adult, and in fact the difference between writing for children and for adults is, to me at any rate, only a quite small gear change.”

It is a change of gear clearly beyond author Martin Amis! For  Martin Amis told interviewer Sebastian Faulks on BBC 2 TV’s ‘Faulks on Fiction’, broadcast this week: “People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children’s book, I say, ‘If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children’s book’, but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you’re directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable”.

The arts correspondent Rob Sharp of the UK Independent  newspaper has reported today that children’s authors have “hit back” at Amis’s “outburst”, quoting Anthony Horowitz, the Alex Rider series creator, Charlie Higson, author of the Young Bond books and Roger McGough, poet and a children’s author for 30 years. What might Rosemary Sutcliff have said?

Physically impaired as she was (but with a fully functioning sharp brain, and social empathy Mr Amis seems to lack) I imagine she might have adopted the understanding, sympathetic tone I heard so often when she was dealing with a ‘does she take sugar’ type comment to me as a young boy,  as I pushed her – the famous novelist  and the person in the chair –  around in her wheelchair.

In fact, I commented on the Independent article that maybe the remarks suggested that  Martin Amis already had a brain and social impairment .

Author: Anthony Lawton

Chair, Sussex Dolphin, family company which looks after the work of eminent children’s & historical fiction author Rosemary Sutcliff (1920-92). Formerly CEO, chair & trustee of various charity, cultural & educational enterprises in UK.

3 thoughts on “Rosemary Sutcliff can write for children | Brain impaired Martin Amis cannot”

  1. I think I can get by without congratulations on that – still, it gave me a laugh!

    Any sign of the e-mail?

    J

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  2. Hi Anthony, I contacted you after you kindly posted on Lucy’s blog, but not sure that the e-mail reached you. Just wanted to say thank you for your kind words on that occasion, anyway.

    (You wouldn’t believe how that blog is following me around – p.72 of the 28 February issue of Hallo! magazine, for example, which is the only way I’m ever going to make /their/ pages… )

    Like

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