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.
Sometimes we find a poet, or a painter, or a musician who functions like a key that unlocks a part of ourselves we never knew was there. The experience is not like learning to appreciate something that we once found difficult or rebarbative, as we might conscientiously try to appreciate the worth of The Faerie Queene and decide that yes, on balance, it is full of interesting and admirable things.
I have joined leading educationalists, early years specialists and psychologists in calling for plans to introduce tests for four- and five-year-olds in their first weeks at primary schools to be scrapped.
31 March 2015
Language, writing and imagination
I talk with Michael Rosen on BBC Radio 4 about language, writing and imagination. We share examples from our own work and also discuss the books that influenced us and who we are writing for.
Leading authors have hit out at Chris Grayling's claim that prisoners have "full access to the same public library service in prisons as every other citizen", saying that statutory requirements for library facilities in prison are not being met.
Fairy stories loosen the chains of the imagination. They give you things to think with – images to think with – and the sense that all kinds of things are possible. While at the same time being ridiculous or terrifying or consolatory. Or something else altogether, as well.