Books make the rest of the world fall away

Katherine Rundell’s latest novel, The Good Thieves, has yet to be released, but an audience of children at Hay were given a sneak preview of its contents and the inspirations that drove the story.

She said, “Almost every story in the world has a ‘what if’ at the heart of it… That’s what I did for The Good Thieves; I thought, what if you did have to do things that weren’t allowed.”

Rundell spoke of books’ innate ability to provide escapism, where people’s thoughts and concerns subside.

She said, “The thing that makes the rest of the world fall away is when you read something spectacular… The world just disappears, and all you have is the book. I think that is so worth seeking.”

The children’s author also provided invaluable experience to prospective writers, and she spoke of what makes stories unique.

She said, “First of all, you need to read. If you want to be a footballer you need to know what a football looks like, if you want to be a writer you need to know how a book falls into place, what it feels like, how the structure of a story can almost be like a character in itself.”

She continued, “That’s what you can do when you write a story, you can take little bits of your own life, the little obsessions in your own heart, and you can make them bigger, and better, and more exciting. You can give them twists of strangeness and put them into a story.”

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Photo by Iga Koncka