Happy Wednesday, readers! Today (the day before World Book Night) I have a special interview for you, with the amazing Elizabeth Fremantle! Elizabeth is the author of many wonderful historical novels including 'Queen's Gambit', which is one of the titles for World Book Night, and I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to speak with her all about World Book Night, the 'transformative qualities of literature' and even her own reading journey...
How are you involved in World Book Night?
I’m going to be at the WBN event at the Shaw Theatre in London, talking about why reading is a superpower.
I was a book-giver on the first WBN in 2011, when I was a struggling writer in search of a book deal, so to have Queen’s Gambit amongst so many brilliant titles, and to be part of the WBN flagship event is very special indeed on a personal level.
Why do you think projects like this are important?
Anything that reminds people of the transformative qualities of literature and encourages people to discover the pleasures of a good book has got to be a good thing.
What is your own 'reading journey'?
The first novels that truly captured my imagination as a small child were Frances Hodgeson-Burnett’s The Little Princess and The Secret Garden.
I graduated onto Laura Ingalls-Wilder’s autobiographical tales of life in a pioneer family, which I read countless times, never tiring of them.
It was Jean Plaidy who whet my appetite for historical fiction, aged about twelve.
If I’m sad I always turn to PG Wodehouse, because he makes me laugh out loud; I’m a fan of Patricia Highsmith, F Scott Fitzgerald, Henry James, Stephan Zweig, to name only a few.
Of contemporary authors I read everything Sarah Waters writes, I love Rose Tremain, Hilary Mantel and there are many more, far too many to name here.
What is your personal favourite in the World Book Night titles? (not including your own, of course!)
It’s hard to choose between so many wonderful books but I’m going to say Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. She’s a wonderful writer and it’s an utterly beguiling novel.
Do you think the Government should play a part in getting people reading? If so, what could they do?
I used to volunteer in my local primary school, helping children who struggled with reading, working with them one-on-one. What always made me sad was the level to which volunteers were relied upon, making the help they needed inconsistent. When work made it difficult for me to continue with it, it was devastating to think that the children I’d been working with might no longer continue to get the help they needed.
Some children, for whatever reason, have parents who are unable to read with them at home. So I suppose I’d like to see increased funding to help those children and their parents.
What got you reading?
I was always a natural bookworm, reading was a refuge for me and so I needed no encouragement. I still tend to read at least a book a week, and never go anywhere without a book in my bag.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for being interviewed on my blog!
Tomorrow I will be attending the World Book Night flagship event at the Shaw Theatre in London, and I look forward to seeing Elizabeth and many other exciting names there. Also, look forward to a write up of that event!
Check out Elizabeth Fremantle here: http://www.elizabethfremantle.com
Check out World Book Night here: http://www.worldbooknight.org
You can still buy tickets for the Flagship event here: http://bit.ly/1HV5O4y
Until next time :)