Interviews

FT Magazine, 16th March 2012

The Inventory: Philip Pullman – Interview by Hester Lacey

Philip Pullman, 65, author of the His Dark Materials trilogy, has won both the Carnegie medal and the Carnegie of Carnegies. He was the first children’s writer to win the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award. He was appointed CBE in 2004.

What was your earliest ambition?

As soon as I realised books had authors I wanted to write stories.

Public school or state school? University or straight into work?

Ysgol Ardudwy, Gwynedd, a local secondary school. Before that, a mix of all sorts in Australia, Southern Rhodesia, Norfolk, London. We travelled by sea in those days; you saw how big the world was. Then Exeter College, Oxford. I got a third. It was the year they stopped giving fourths or I’d have got one of those. I bummed around for a year, then went into teaching.

Who is your mentor?

I don’t think I’ve had a mentor. I had a very good English teacher at school, Miss Enid Jones.

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The Telegraph, 17th October 2011

Page in the Life: Philip Pullman

The novelist Philip Pullman tells Helen Brown about his Victorian adventures – and reveals he is working on two new His Dark Materials stories.

Because he kills God in his bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy, Philip Pullman has been called many things, including the ‘most significant’ and the ‘most dangerous’ writer in Britain. His support for the legalisation of drugs and his vocal resistance to the state vetting of authors before school visits has led to some horribly slanderous name calling online. But, so far as I know, he’s never been called a ‘poodlefaker’, although when I call him at his Oxfordshire home, he admits that, as a boy, he used to make regular ‘poodlefaking’ excursions to the home of a rich elderly aunt. Read Full Article

The Guardian, 3rd March 2011 (Alan Franks)

Philip Pullman: a life in writing

To celebrate the launch of the Guardian children’s books website, we invited the author’s young fans to ask the questions.

Gemma, 16

Why did you decide to write The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ?

I’ve always been fascinated by the difference between the man Jesus, the son of Joseph and Mary, who I think almost certainly existed, and the idea of Christ, the son of God. The vast bulk of what people say about Christ seems to me nonsense, impossible, absurd. About Jesus, on the other hand, we can say many interesting things.

Were you surprised that people considered the book so shocking?

I wasn’t surprised that people found the title shocking. Plenty of people wrote to me and told me I would go to hell for writing it. That was before it was even published, though. I think that if they actually read the book rather than squawking about the title, they might find it less appalling than they thought it would be.

You’ve been declared “the world’s most outspoken atheist” in the past. Do you think that’s true?

I don’t think I’m anything like the world’s most outspoken atheist. People who deserve that title much more are Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, Sam Harris, Daniel Dennett . . . Read Full Article

Times Online, March 17, 2009 (Alan Franks)

As his trilogy reopens at Birmingham Rep, the author of His Dark Materials explains why he’s so angry about God.

You don’t expect to hear one of Britain’s most famous atheists lamenting the loss of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, but that’s what you get when you spend time in the surprising company of Philip Pullman. Then there’s Hymns Ancient and Modern and the King James Bible, both gone. “The New Revised Standard version is all very fine,” says the 62-year-old author of His Dark Materials, “and I use that when I want to look something up and be sure of understanding it, but it’s the language of the King James that I remember.” Read Full Article

moreintelligentlife.co.uk, December 3rd 2007

THE ART OF DARKNESS

He had written fairy tales, detective stories, melodramas, thrillers and fantasies. But when Philip Pullman embarked on his trilogy, “His Dark Materials”, he went back to the most fundamental story of all: the one with the snake, the apple and the fig leaf. He recast Adam and Eve as a 12-year-old girl and boy living in parallel universes, who meet, fall in love and spend the night together. This time God, known as the Authority, fades away and dies. “I thought there would be a small audience,” Pullman says, “a few clever kids somewhere and a few intelligent adults who thought, “That’s all right, quite enjoyed it.'” Well, he got that wrong. Read Full Article