'Adult writing is clutter!'

Thursday 8th July, 2010 | Posted by Anonymous

Anthony Horowitz is well-recognised as a page-turning children's author. In conversation with Peter Fonagy, however, he also proved himself to be a page-turning speaker. His ceaseless enthusiasm and surprising admissions gripped the diverse audience throughout this illuminating talk.

Fonagy instigated discussion about the creation of Alex Rider, and identified parallels between Horowitz's resentment towards the political climate in which he was writing and Alex's alienation from the adult world. Despite the extraordinary life he leads, Alex Rider is a character very much grounded in reality, and Horowitz emphasised his endeavour to make him a knowable character to every child reader.

Always generous in his answers to questions, Horowitz candidly revealed the importance of newspaper stories as sources for his books. He takes inspiration from those he meets and what he observes, and admitted that one of his villains is based on Phillip Schofield! He was also open about his writing techniques and the tactile enjoyment he derives from working with pen and paper rather than a computer.

Upmost in Horowitz's agenda is to make reading an enjoyable and enticing experience for each and every child that picks up one his books. Fonagy prompted thought into the escapist pleasure Horowitz himself gained as a chid from reading James Bond novels and his desire to re-create such an experience for his own readers. He also voiced scepticism about the modern tendency to over-protect children, and the impoverishing effect of their only being able to experience adventure vicariously.

With his boundless energy and gift for interacting with both children and adults alike, it is easy to understand why Horowitz is so popular. Responding well to provocative questions from younger audience members, his 'telepathy of excitement' was remarkably alive.


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