Nine questions... Malorie Blackman

We sat down with Malorie Blackman, author of the groundbreaking and unforgettable Noughts & Crosses series, BAFTA-winning story Pig-Heart Boy and Doctor Who writer, to talk about her favourite books a what Hay Festival means to her.

1. What are you in Hay to talk about?

I’m in conversation with Jonathan Douglas and talking about my books. I think there’s going to be a few questions about Doctor Who because I wrote one of the episodes last year as well as the new Noughts & Crosses book, Crossfire, which comes out in August and the Noughts & Crosses TV series, to be broadcast later this year.

2. What do you want the audience to take away?

I hope they’re entertained and enjoy the chat!

3. What’s the best question you’ve been asked in an event and how did you answer?

I’ve been asked so many good questions that it’s hard to pick just one. Recently, a ten-year-old asked me why a certain character had done something in one of my books, Checkmate, and I’m thinking, ‘You’re a 10-year-old and you’ve read Checkmate?!’ He said he’d read the lot and he was very thoughtful about his question and talked about all the politics and racism involved. I thought ‘Gosh, you’re going to rule the world!’ That’s why I love kids – they ask you such unexpected things.

4. If you could sum up Hay Festival in one word, it would be... 


5. What is so special about Hay-on-Wye?

It’s a beautiful setting and everybody has got that passion for books. But it’s not exactly the easiest place to get to, so everyone here is a dedicated bibliophile! It’s that passion for books, it’s almost palpable.

6. What was the last book you read and loved?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was absolutely amazing.

7. What is the book you have most often given as a gift?

I love graphic novels and when I’m giving gifts to teenagers, I always give them V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd. It’s also about getting more people to read and enjoy graphic novels.

8. Which book has most inspired you?

The Color Purple by Alice Walker. it was the first book that I read featuring black protagonists and that was when I was 21. It inspired me because I thought, "There are books out there with black characters, so maybe I can write some".

9. Which piece of advice do you wish you could give your 16-year-old self?

Stop worrying about what other people think and believe in yourself.


Malorie Blackman talked Noughts & Crosses and Dr Who at Hay Festival on Saturday 25 May. Listen again on Hay Player here.