So G P Taylor came to Barnsley Library to launch his new collaborative book Out of the Shadows which has been written by kids from Dearne High in Barnsley. I managed to squeeze 3 minutes of interview from him……
Stegzy – Today’s young children and adults don’t seem to be reading as much as they did, say, ten years ago. Do you agree with that statement?
Taylor – No I don’t. I don’t think kids have ever read actually. I didn’t start reading until I was 17 and then I only started because I fancied the bird that worked in the library and I don’t think we have a generation of readers. I think we’ve never had readers in this country, there’s a middle class elite who read but its very much not a working class institution. That’s why I designed a book called the Dopple Ganger Chronicles which is actually getting working class kids and reluctant readers back into reading. It’s had an incredible effect right around the world.
Stegzy – Why do you think this is?
Taylor – Well I don’t think they have read. I think it’s very much a class thing. I think it’s all down to aspirations of parents. If parents read then kids read and I grew up in a working class family on a very large council estate. Nobody on my estate read books, we were out nicking them and selling them. But we didn’t read them, and this is the dilemma we are facing in this country. We have all these nice middle class institutions like the Book Club and Blue Peter which don’t touch working class kids. And working class kids are not turned on by books because the books, basically are all about nice middle class kids doing middle class things. Look at Harry Potter, he’s the biggest, pretentious, middle class twat I’ve ever read.
Stegzy – With authors such as yourself, J K Rowling and Philip Pullman inspiring and attracting adult readers as well as child readers do you think the quality of childrens literature has improved since the days of say, Enid Blyton?
Taylor – No I don’t. I think that everyone is jumping on the band wagon and trying to make as much money as possible out of writing, so-called, pseudo-childrens books. When really Pullman isn’t really a childrens book at all, its an adult novel masquerading as a childrens because it’s easier to get a kids book published than an adult book published.
Stegzy – Do you envisage a GP Taylor Experience one day in Whitby?
Taylor – Hopefully not. Because I would burn it down. I think that would be the most ultimate accolade of banality I can think of.
Stegzy – Do you think the realism and actualisation of locations you use within your books help the tourist trade within those regions and do you think more British authors should add more realism in their locations?
Taylor – It’s a two edge sword. With Maria Mundi, which is set in Scarborough, that’s really helping the tourists because the film company are already doing the film. With Whitby,yes it’s helping the tourist industry but it’s also really pissing off the council, as people keep pinching the sign for Boggle Hole which is where the book is set which must be costing the council an awful lot of money.
Stegzy – Finally, and on a separate issue, You’re a resident of the Whitby area, what’s your opinion on the bi-annual Whitby Goth Weekend and do you think they boost the tourism during the low season or do you think they are detrimental to the town?
Taylor – I actually think its…well…..it really…..Goths spend money. Goths are nice middle class kids who’ve got nothing better to do than dress up in black and come to Whitby. And god bless them, and may they keep on coming to whitby and keep on spending their money because they certainly give the area a much needed boost to an ailing economy. So much so that I’m setting my next three books in Whitby they’re called red eye and it’s the rewriting of the original Vampire story its pre Bram Stoker. It’s going to be blood guts and plenty of fear and very gothic.
This post is friends only to preserve any professional decency I might have remaining….heh