Monday, 24 June 2013

Malorie Blackman chat

Little M sat down for a chat..with Malorie Blackman

Little M was Booktrust’s Young Reporter for the day at the Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2013-2015  Announcement. She managed to squeeze in a few minutes with Malorie Blackman, the new Children’s Laureate.

Little M from the We Sat Down blog interviews Malorie Blackman for Booktrust
Little M interviewing Malorie Blackman

On becoming a writer
Malorie Blackman started writing short stories and poems for herself since she was about seven. She said that “when I knew that I wanted to be a writer, I didn’t have a clue about how to go about it so I started doing a writing class.” She wanted to know how to do it professionally.

Little M: Can you remember what your favourite book or series was when you were a child?

Malorie: “There was a series called The Chalet School. It was about girls in a boarding school in Switzerland and their adventures. I read a number of those for a while but then I stopped reading them because I thought... they were okay but I wanted to read something that I felt reflected my life a bit more. From about 10 or 11, I wanted to read more books that reflected life as I knew it so I started reading adult books – because there weren’t books for teenagers really. So when I was 11 or 12 I started reading the Agatha Christie books and I loved Poirot and Miss Marple. I also read a number of books about myths and legends from around the world.”

Little M: What is your opinion on library closures?

Malorie: “I think it is a really short sighted thing to do. I understand that local authorities are under pressure so they have to save money somewhere. But in these times I think we need libraries more not less. I think a number of people go there to get advice and to find a safe environment to do homework. My mum, who is 75, has recently started taking computer lessons at her local library. I think when countries like Russia and South Korea are actually building new libraries because they recognise the value of them, it seems a shame that we don’t recognise the same value in this country and we’re shutting them down. Very shortsighted.”

Little M: What is your favourite novel you have written so far?

Malorie: “I think of all the ones I have written so far, probably Noughts & Crosses. Noughts & Crosses was the hardest book to write, but it was the most satisfying book to write. It was the most painful to write because some of the things that happened to Callum in the book happened to me. Like when I first travelled first class on a train, the ticket inspector insisted that I must have stolen the ticket and stuff like that. And some of the stuff that happened at school. That happened to me.”

Below is Little M’s reporting of events behind the scene at the announcement. This report originally appeared on the Children’s Laureate website and is reproduced here with Booktrust’s permission. But the pics are newly posted!

Behind the scenes at the Children’s Laureate Announcement 2013-15 - by Little M

I give a big thank you to Booktrust for inviting me to be their young reporter for the Children’s Laureate Announcement on the 4th June 2013. It was a massive honour to be there. Thank you! Malorie Blackman was selected as the Children's Laureate for 2013-15. She will be the Laureate for 2 years and then in 2015 another author will be selected.

Laura Dockrill
Author Laure Dockrill
We travelled far to get to London but it was well worth the long journey. When we entered Kings Place which is next to The Guardian, we were greeted by Caroline and Leanne from Booktrust and were shown into the lovely Battlebridge room which overlooked the Canal. There we bumped into a few authors. We had a chat with Laura Dockrill who was wearing an amazingly colourful dress, Patrick Ness, and Philip Ardagh.

Authors Liz Pichon and Philip Ardagh
Fuuny, funny authors Liz Pichon and Philip Ardagh
Everyone was in a jolly, excited mood waiting to find out who the new Laureate would be. Every person who went there had their own suspicion and I thought it might be Malorie because she has written some amazing novels like Noughts & Crosses and Pig Heart Boy which many people love. Patrick Ness also hoped it would be Malorie.

A monster walked in.......Patrick Ness
We all then went into Hall 2 and Krishnan Guru-Murthy from Channel 4 News kicked off the announcement. He was very jokey and then after a bit of talking passed us onto Viv Bird who is the Chief Executive of Booktrust. She said thank you to all the sponsors and everyone who made this wonderful role happen. She also mentioned that ALCS is now one of their new sponsors.  Abigail Campbell, who is the Chair of the Children's Laureate Steering Group, spoke next. She spoke of how the Laureate award came to be. It started up from a conversation between Ted Hughes and Michael Morpurgo and now we have this fabulous laureateship. She also said that on Twitter there was something going around saying Julia Donaldson should be Dr Who!

We then listened to Julia Donaldson who was the previous Laureate. She listed what she had achieved whilst being the Laureate and showed us photos of her library journey through  the country. One of the pictures was of her van/car before and after her trip. Before, the car was nice and looking new and then after it had dents. She was quite funny!

Also, deaf pupils from Thomas Tallis School and Life and Deaf put on a play which Julia had helped them with. It made every one laugh.

And finally the wonderful, magnificent Malorie Blackman was announced as the 8th Children’s Laureate. I never knew that Malorie was so funny. Right from the first words, she was very funny.   We then did a bit more mingling and I got to speak Anne Fine and Julia Donaldson.
Malorie Blackman and Julia Donaldson
Malorie Blackman and Julia Donaldson
Then I got to ask Malorie Blackman a few questions. She said that the closure of libraries “is a really short sighted thing to do” and that “Noughts & Crosses was the hardest book to write, but it was the most satisfying book to write”.

I think Malorie will be a brilliant Laureate, she will inspire hundreds to thousands of children and teens to either read or write. I like the idea of her making schools read for at least 10 minutes a day.  In our school we read the play of Noughts & Crosses and pretty much everyone enjoys it. My favourite book by Malorie is her new book, Noble Conflict. It has a brilliant plot and I think many people will love it!    

This was a wonderful day that I am never going to forget. It was definitely worth the trip down to London and I hope that everyone who attended enjoyed it. My favourite part was being able to interview Malorie Blackman and meeting everyone.


  1. Gee, Little M, you are quite the reader/reporter. And what a great job you did with your children's port Laureate assignment. I'm am very impressed. And now I really want to read Noughts & Crosses. Keep up the good work!

    1. Than you Alex. noughts and crosses is a really good book, we have now started reading the play at school it isn't that different to the book itself!


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