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British children ‘have less space’ to be kids, award-winning author says | Ents & Arts News

Award-winning children’s author Katherine Rundell says she fears young people in Britain “have less space in which to be a child”.

Speaking to Sky News after her fantasy book Impossible Creatures was named 2023 Waterstones Book of the Year, the writer – who’s been likened to literary titans such as JRR Tolkien and Philip Pullman – reflected on her own early years growing up overseas.

“I was so lucky in that I grew up partly in Zimbabwe and I was very close to wild creatures, there would be snakes in the garden and monkeys down by the shops…one of the things that I was very lucky to have was this stretch of childhood in which I was allowed to play outside and be without adult supervision,” she said.

Katherine Rundell books From Katie Spencer VT

“And I think in England that is harder and perhaps that makes children grow up a little swifter, that they have less space in which to be a child.”

The rise of the celebrity author has come to dominate children’s literature in the last decade, but Rundell has proven a famous name is not always an essential entry point for young readers.

She has been one of the most talked about authors of this year, drawing comparisons to the likes of CS Lewis.

“Narnia – it’s in my bones and skin and fingernails,” she said.

“When you read a children’s book, sometimes it can be like a kind of defibrillator for the imagination. It can galvanise you into a kind of curiosity, a kind of beauty that you have perhaps forgotten.”

An Oxford fellow, her grounding in academia is apparent.

Her latest work – Impossible Creatures – about a magical archipelago where all mythical beasts still reside, is packed full of historical research, telling the story of a race to “save that which is beautiful” with a nod to our own environment.

Katherine Rundell books From Katie Spencer VT

“I think I wanted to say to the children reading it, your bravery, your endurance, your courage, your action will be wonderfully worth the time and pain and effort it takes,” Rundell said.

“I also hope that adults…

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This notice was published: 2023-12-30 18:20:00

By Sky News

Sky News is a British 24-hour information television channel, the first in Europe of its kind, launched on February 5, 1989 by the British Sky Broadcasting Company.

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