I know from their letters and tweets that my readers have been waiting patiently (mostly) for The Book of Dust for a long time. I’ve been writing it for several years, and I’ve been very parsimonious with information about it. It gives me great pleasure and some excitement at last to satisfy their curiosity (and mine) about this book.
What can I tell you about it? The first thing to say is that Lyra is at the centre of the story. Events involving her open the first chapter, and will close the last. I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College and, in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her 20 years later.
This catastrophe has had a thousand causes. Here are some.There is our country’s post-imperial reluctance to let go of the idea that we are a great nation, combined with our post-second-world-war delusion that we were still a great power.
In 1915 pocket broadsheets of inspiring literature were distributed to the troops. One hundred years on The Guardian asked poets and writers to select the pieces they would send today. Here is one of my choices.
It's been a constant source of pleasure to me to see my Dark Materials trilogy adapted to different forms. It's been a radio play, a stage play, a film, an audiobook, a graphic novel - and now comes this version for television.
In recent years we've seen how long stories on television, whether adaptations [Game of Thrones] or original [The Sopranos, The Wire], can reach depths of characterisation and heights of suspense by taking the time for events to make their proper impact and for consequences to unravel. The sheer talent now working in the world of long-form television is formidable. For all those reasons I'm delighted at the prospect of a television version of His Dark Materials.
I was delighted to take part in the launch of this year’s The Big Draw festival in Oxford. The children’s laureate, Chris Riddell, and other distinguished advocates of drawing all helped to open the 15th annual series of events that encourages drawing by people of all ages.
In September it will become compulsory for secondary school children to study the English Baccalaureate core subjects of English, maths, science, a language and history or geography. I believe that arts subjects are also essential to education. They are of incalculable worth in what it means to be a human being.
New media and new forms of buying and lending are all very interesting, for all kinds of reasons, but one principle remains unchanged: authors must be paid fairly for their work. Any arrangement that doesn't acknowledge that principle is a bad one, and needs to be changed. That is our whole argument.