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If I were Prime Minister

If I were Prime Minister: Every privatised corner of the NHS would be taken back into public ownership.I would take my moral lead from Labour’s 1945 Election manifesto, which seems to me an ideal blend of hope in a better future and determination to bring it about.

However, we have to deal with things now that were not dreamt of then, so I’d begin by cancelling Trident (an absurdly over-powerful weapon for a medium-sized country to wield) and putting the entire nation on a green pathway. The threat of climate change is the biggest potential danger we face, and we seem to have no idea either how important it is or how to stop doing the things that are causing it.

Then I would call a constitutional convention: a gathering of representatives from every section of the population to take a long hard look at the way we are governed, the institutions that control our lives, and the way we can control them. Our electoral system has now passed beyond a joke. Our governments are effectively appointed by the small minority of voters who live in marginal constituencies.

The Independent (31 January 2015)

New His Dark Materials story sheds light on Mrs Coulter

Ghosts have featured widely in the worlds-spanning His Dark Materials series, but never ghost stories – until now.

Written in the style of a classic Christmas ghost story, The Collectors is Philip Pullman's first material set in the universe since 2008's Once Upon A Time In The North and is released as an audiobook read by Bill Nighy.
It takes place in "our" world, in an unnamed Oxford college in December 1970, where middle-aged art collectors Hawley and Grinstead are discussing a painting and statue recently acquired by Hawley.

Dating back to the 1900s, the painting of an ambiguous woman and sculpture of a furious-looking monkey have been moving through the art world ever since. The mystery that appealed to Hawley is that where the one goes, the other soon follows: as quickly as they are purchased, they are sold.

It is soon apparent that the pair depicted are Marisa Coulter, known in this world as Marisa Van Zie, and her golden monkey daemon, and that one of the collectors had, impossibly, known her around the time the portrait was painted.

The Telegraph (17 December 2014)

William Blake and me

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...So it was with me in the early 1960s, at the age of 16, with William Blake.

The Guardian (28 November 2014)

Once upon a time ...

Once upon a time there was a writer called Philip who struggled to make a living.

The Guardian (13 September 2013)

Loosening the chains of the imagination

"If you want your children to be intelligent," Albert Einstein once remarked, "read them fairytales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales." It is a sentiment with which Philip Pullman heartily agrees. Which is as well, because his latest bestseller is a highly acclaimed and high-voltage retelling of 50 Grimm brothers fairytales.

The Guardian (23 August 2013)

Oxfordshire Reading Campaign

OXFORD children’s author Philip Pullman praised the Oxfordshire Reading Campaign and said talking to children was the key to reading success.

Oxford Times (19 August 2013)

Philip Pullman's Dark Arts

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.

Intelligent Life (December 2007)

I look forward to the dukedom this manifesto advice will bring

The Tories could sweep back to power on a tide of old Labour votes with some old-fashioned ideas now without a champion.

The Guardian (14 September 2005)

The War on Words

Reading is a democratic activity, argues Philip Pullman, and theocracies discourage it. Khomeini’s Iran and the Soviet Union had similarly degraded views of literature – and Bush’s America is heading the same way.

The Guardian (6 November 2004)

Theatre - the true key stage

Sci-fi writers have to know their facts, but it’s the element of mystery that keeps the readers turning the pages, says Philip Pullman.

The Guardian (26 August 2004)

Claudia FitzHerbert talks to Philip Pullman

I began by asking him whether he ever envied his key sources Milton and Blake for the artistic energy they derived from the religious belief he cannot share.

PP: Blake was a visionary. That's the important thing for me. Somebody said to him, 'When the sun comes up do you not see a round thing rather like a guinea?', and he said, 'No, I see a choir of angels singing.' Blake was able to see things that other people would have said weren't there. To my mind that's not very different to perfect pitch. Some people hear a singer or a violinist and don't realise that they're not in tune whereas others know at once because they can hear what the pitch should be.

Literary Review (August 2007)

 
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