Reading Talk
A collection of essays and talks selected from those written over the last fifteen years. A companion volume to BOOKTALK.
From School Librarian Volume 50, Number 2, Summer 2002:
"A new collection of Aidan Chambers' essays is always a delight, not least because it reminds me of why I became a librarian in the first place…One of Aidan Chambers' great gifts is to make me think about reading and its value. It would be invidious to pick out a favourite piece from this collection. Read them all and enrich your understanding." Elspeth S. Scott.
From Times Educational Supplement Book of the Week, 11 January 2002:
"Chambers the writer makes me want to write; Chambers the reader makes me want to read. Enjoy this collection for its range, eloquence and wisdom, and for its unique 'companionship'." Linda Newbery.
From Children's Books Ireland, Summer 2002:
"Aidan Chambers has remarkable things to say and he brings a fine scholarly method to the study of youth literature." Siobhán Parkinson.

The Future of the Book Some people say 'the book' is, if not dead, then finished as an important form of communication. Right or wrong, what is certain is that Big Changes are already taking place. As a dyed-in-the-book person, it seems to me we must start from scratch, think out what a Book is, and work out whether or not the Book is a form with unique qualities which make it essential to our lives. This essay is an attempt to do that job. It leaves me full of optimism.

Anne Frank's Pen I've been hooked on The Diary of Anne Frank since I was a teenager. A favourite book. The only masterpiece written by a thirteen-to-fifteen year old. Anne used a treasured pen to write more than half her book. Then one day, the pen was lost. She tells the story of that minor disaster in her diary. This essay tells another story, which describes what it means to be an author (rather than a writer) and how Anne evolves from being an everyday adolescent writer and reader into an author of astonishing ability and dedication. It also compares the first, 1947, translation in English with the new, 1995, translation, discussing the variations between the two, and what differences these make to the book's meaning.
All of a tremble to see his danger: Huck Finn and Youth Literature It seems to me that Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is the first great youth novel. I don't know who said it, but it is true that 'all great artists and writers are contemporaries'. Huckleberry Finn still has a lot to tell us about how to write youth literature and how to read, and how not to. Its failures are as interesting as its strengths. Besides, it's an unfailingly entertaining book.

In spite of being a translation From 1989 until 1995 along with David Turton I published English translations of youth and children's novels from other European languages. They were all books I wished I could have written and seemed to me to add to the range of our own literature for the young. I thought and learned a great deal about the problems and pleasures of translation in those years, which enabled me to look afresh at the subject. This essay sets out some of the things I learned, and describes the process of translating and publishing one of the Turton & Chambers books.

Something Zeppelin! First given as a talk in celebration of the fiftieth birthday of the premier Norwegian children's author Tormod Haugen, this is a 'reading' of Haugen's extraordinary children's novel Zeppelin, which I published in English as a Turton & Chambers title. I've been careful to quote sufficiently so that you don't have to have read the book in order to enjoy the essay. It is as much about a way of reading as it is about the novel which is its subject.
Schools in Stories: Talbot Baines Reed Reed was the most innovative, literary and successful of all the writers of school stories. During the second half of the nineteenth and into the twentieth century, he was one of the most popular writers for the young. As he and his achievement are now all but forgotten I wrote this celebration of his 100th anniversary in order to explore his place in the history of youth literature, what it was he did with the school story, how he developed the form, why it is that Reed's novels far exceed in value those of other writers, and what it is in the school story as he and others used it that was fatal to the lives of some of its readers. It is the story of an attractive and talented man and of a form that is still flourishing. It reminds us that knowing our history and the history of our literature is essential to our own well-being and practice.
Pick up a Penguin A personal, anecdotal essay which uses my own education and experience to look again at what it means to be a reader and writer of the stories we call literature.


First published by Thimble Press, 2001

0-903355-50-7, £14.50

If you have difficulty buying a copy, MAIL ME

All contents are ©Aidan Chambers unless otherwise stated.







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