Q&As

Over the years I have been asked many questions about my books, my approach to writing, and even about my interest in woodwork. The answer to your question may be right here, so have a browse or search my Q&As.



Questions & Answers

Q

Pourquoi avez-vous fait une fn triste pour ìLe miroir díambreî?

A

Cîetait la seule fin qui etait possible. Cîest triste, oui, mais cîetait necessaire.

Asked on 19 April 2009

Q

As I understand, Mr. Pullman occasionally engages in book signing tours though out the UK. Will there be one soon? How can I find out more about them?

A

I do occasionally do a signing tour, but only if I have a new book out. I haven't this year, so I won't be touring for a while yet. There will be information here on the website when i do.

Asked on 19 April 2009

Q

Do you do any research before you write a book?

A

It depends on the sort of book I think it's going to be. A long complex book with a precise realistic setting will demand a lot of research, but a fairy tale such as The Firework-Maker's Daughter will not.

Asked on 18 April 2009

Q

hello. I am writing my dissertation on His Dark Materials, allegory and myth. I am wonderring what you think your story is, allegory or myth? I have my own thoughts on this but I would love to know your opinion Thanks, Hana Karlasen

A

Well, I think it's a novel. In other words I don't think it works like allegory, because allegory has to rely on a precise one-to-one relationship between story-element and meaning. A novel is more democratic: the meaning is not dictated or determined by the author, but is something that emerges in the space between the story and the reader's mind. Myth is a different matter. C.S. Lewis would say that a myth is a story that has the same force, the same effect, the same meaning, in whichever form we encounter it: it's independent of its telling. Again, a novel is something slightly different. A novel might tell a mythical story, but it would not need to be mythical in order to be a novel.

Asked on 16 April 2009

Q

how long does it normally take for you to answer a question you get? and how many do you get in a week?

A

This site is still very new, and I am still getting the hang of it. It's too soon to answer accurately.

Asked on 14 April 2009

Q

Kaisa is a female Finnish name but you use it for a male. Why? Were you aware of this?

A

There was a writer on the game of chess, a man, who called himself Kaisa. I was thinking of him. It's perhaps a little unfortunate that it turns out to be a female name in Finland, but it's too late now.

Asked on 12 April 2009

Q

At the end of the Amber Spyglass, it seems like you tried very hard to separate Will and Lyra, bringing up and then shooting down all the logical ways they could be together. Is there any specific reason for this?

A

It had to happen. The story wouldn't have worked otherwise. Cruel, but true.

Asked on 12 April 2009

Q

Dear Mr. Pullman, When I read for the first time your novel Northen Lights I felt deeply moved and overwhelmed whith a torrent of emotions in the scene you first describe the Aurora. Since then, I dream with knowing it. So my question is: Have you seen the Northern Lights, and if you have, how did you feel when you see it for the first time? Jose Vicente Scannone, from Venezuela

A

Thank you for this. As a matter of fact I have never seen the aurora, though I have been several times in places where I was assured it would show up. I had to rely on photographs and other peopleîs descriptions.

Asked on 11 April 2009

Q

Dear Philip Pullman, I am a student at the University of Warwick doing a course in creative writing and I absolutely love your books, so I was wondering if you would mind answering a couple of questions for me? We have to write an assignment about an aspect of the writing process that we find interesting or problematical, with reference to authors whose work we know well, and so it would be brilliant if I could have your take on matters.

A

I'm sorry, but I can't answer very detailed questions about the writing process here. If you look through the interviews that are posted elsewhere on this website, and earlier in these Q & As, youîll find many of the answers you seek.

Asked on 10 April 2009

Q

hi, im the same who wrote to you about my school book report..iren Dundas if you don't mint, would you be so kind to send the answer to iren_1994@hotmail.com? if you cant, don't bother with it, just answer here, if you can -iren dundas

A

I'm afraid that if you want me to write your school report for you, it will cost you five thousand dollars.

Asked on 07 April 2009

Q

I would like to read your Isis speech that I have heard so much about from fellow English teachers. However, I canít find it anywhere on the web. Help!!

A

It's on my website. You go to OTHER WRITING, and then to THE WORLDS, and then to EDUCATION.

Asked on 06 April 2009

Q

You probably get tired of answering this, but, do you think Lyra and Will will ever meet again, in a future book? And, if not, does this ever make you sad? (P.S. HDM is very beautiful, for so many reasons).

A

I don't know if they will or not. Does it make me sad? It did when I was writing it. But the book had to end like that.

Asked on 05 April 2009

Q

What would you say to kids who want to become PUBLISHED authors?

A

Many people will say that you should write the sort of book that people want to read. I don't believe that for a moment. I think you should write the sort of book that YOU want to read.

Asked on 05 April 2009

Q

Hi Philip, A quick question in the Subtle Knife, the way it cuts is excellent as it is described in a realistic manner in the book. Is the idea from the old chinese parable of the butcher that never sharpens his knife?

A

No, I didn't know that story. Thank you for pointing it out.

Asked on 03 April 2009

Q

Were you a teacher at Bishop Kirk scholl in Oxford, sometime during 1976 to 1978? (I was a student)

A

Yes! I joined Bishop Kirk School in 1976 and taught there for five years. It's hard to say that i remember you, though, because you donît tell me your name.

Asked on 02 April 2009

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