Philip Pullman – England

Linked with The National Secular Society NSS, and with The British Humanist Association.

Philip Pullman CBE (born 19 October 1946) is an English writer. He is the best-selling author of His Dark Materials (a trilogy of fantasy novels), and a number of other books … and: Perspective on religion: Pullman is a supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. New Yorker journalist Laura Miller has described Pullman as one of England’s most outspoken atheists … (full long text, last modified on 6 March 2009).

Philip Pullman is one of the most highly acclaimed children’s authors of the decade. He has been on the shortlist of just about every major children’s book award in the last few years, and has won the Smarties Prize (Gold Award, 9-11 age category) for THE FIREWORK-MAKER’S DAUGHTER and the prestigious Carnegie Medal for NORTHERN LIGHTS. He was the first children’s author ever to win the Whitbread Prize for THE AMBER SPYGLASS and he won the ‘Carnegie of Carnegies’ in 2007 for NORTHERN LIGHTS – the favourite Carnegie winner in the past 70 years. (on House of Legends).

He says: (What advice would I give to anyone who wants to write?): Don’t listen to any advice, that’s what I’d say. Write only what you want to write. Please yourself. YOU are the genius, they’re not. Especially don’t listen to people (such as publishers) who think that you need to write what readers say they want. Readers don’t always know what they want. I don’t know what I want to read until I go into a bookshop and look around at the books other people have written, and the books I enjoy reading most are books I would never in a million years have thought of myself. So the only thing you need to do is forget about pleasing other people, and aim to please yourself alone. That way, you’ll have a chance of writing something that other people WILL want to read, because it’ll take them by surprise. It’s also much more fun writing to please yourself. (full interview text).

His official website.

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Philip Pullman – England

Watch these videos:

Last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, caused controversy by praising the National Theatre’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials – a work that has been interpreted by some as anti-Christian. The two men met at the theatre on Monday to discuss the meaning of religion in art and literature -and its enduring relevance to the education of our children. This is the record of their conversation … (full long interview text).

Listen on your computer this podcast: Guardian book club podcast, Philip Pullman, 47 min, he talks to John Mullan about plot, morality, language and Milton in His Dark Materials.

… His Dark Materials: His Dark Materials consists of Northern Lights (titled The Golden Compass in North America), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. The first volume of the trilogy, “Northern Lights”, won the Carnegie Medal for children’s fiction in the UK in 1995. The Amber Spyglass, the last volume, was awarded both 2001 Whitbread Prize for best children’s book and the Whitbread Book of the Year prize in January 2002, the first children’s book to receive that award. The series won popular acclaim in late 2003, taking third place in the BBC’s Big Read poll. Pullman has written two companion pieces to the trilogy entitled, Lyra’s Oxford, and the newly released Once Upon a Time in the North. A third companion piece Pullman refers to as the “green book” will expand upon his character Will. He has plans for one more, the as-yet-unwritten The Book of Dust, which is tentatively set for release in 2009. This book is not a continuation of the trilogy but will include characters and events from His Dark Materials. In 2005 Pullman was announced as joint winner of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature … (full long text).

Find him and his publications on amazon; on Internet Speculative Fiction Database; on IMDb; on wikipedia /Bibliography; on Random House; on Google Video-search; on Google Group-search (with Fan di Philip Pullman, with alt.books.philip-pullman, and with group directory, all groups, lookup Philip Pullman); on inauthor Google-search; on Google Book-search; on Google Scholar-search; on Google Blog-search; on Google News-search.

… Pullman, who was once described as “semi-satanic” for his stance on religion, accused novelists of letting down their readers by failing to use their full potential to explore the moral questions of good and evil, life and death. Fiction would lose its value unless writers did more to tackle the great moral dilemmas of our time. “Fantasy, and fiction in general, is failing to do what it might be doing,” he said. “It has unlimited potential to explore all sorts of metaphysical and moral questions, but it is not doing that.” Described by a columnist as “the most dangerous author in Britain” for his children’s trilogy His Dark Materials, Pullman this year became the first writer of children’s books to win the Whitbread best book award for his final installment, the Amber Spyglass … (full text, 12 August 2002).

More Quotations (a short excerpt from wikiquote):

  • I knew I was telling a story that would be gripping enough to take readers with it, and I have a high enough opinion of my readers to expect them to take a little difficulty in their stride. My readers are intelligent: I don’t write for stupid people. Now mark this carefully, because otherwise I shall be misquoted and vilified again — we are all stupid, and we are all intelligent. The line dividing the stupid from the intelligent goes right down the middle of our heads. Others may find their readership on the stupid side: I don’t. I pay my readers the compliment of assuming that they are intellectually adventurous … (full text, Interview at Achuka Children’s Books).
  • Dark matter is what my research team is looking for. No one knows what it is. There’s more stuff out there in the universe than we can see, that’s the point. We can see the stars and the galaxies and the things that shine, but for it all to hang together and not fly apart, there needs to be a lot more of it — to make gravity work, you see. But no one can detect it. So there are lots of different research projects trying to find out what it is, and this is one of them. … We think it’s some kind of elementary particle. Something quite different from anything discovered so far. But the particles are very hard to detect. Dr. Mary Malone, in Ch.4: Trepanning.
  • A sense of belonging, a sense of being part of a real and important story, a sense of being connected to other people, to people who are not here any more, to those who have gone before us. And a sense of being connected to the universe itself. All those things were promised and summed up in the phrase, The Kingdom of Heaven. But if the Kingdom is dead, we still need those things. We can’t live without those things because it’s too bleak, it’s too bare and we don’t need to. We can find a way of creating them for ourselves if we think in terms of a Republic of Heaven. This is not a Kingdom but a Republic, in which we are all free and equal citizens, with — and this is the important thing — responsibilities. With the responsibility to make this place into a Republic of Heaven for everyone. Not to live in it in a state of perpetual self-indulgence, but to work hard to make this place as good as we possibly can.

He says also: … Frightening people is a very good way to make them passive and supine. You can be terrified into an abject denial of everything and you don’t want to know about it: you just shut your eyes and your ears. But the most useful, the most helpful and most energising thing is to say: “You can do this, and this, and this, and you can press your Government to do that.” Environmentalists need to know something about basic storytelling in order to make their words effective. Samuel Johnson apparently said something I find very useful to remember: “The true aim of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.” Research is much easier than writing, so the temptation is to shove all the research in. But page after page after page of the stuff goes by and, of course, people stop reading. I suppose the real story, the basic story, the story I would like to hear, see, read, is the story about how connected we are, not only with one another but also with the place we live in. And how it’s almost infinitely rich, but it’s in some danger; and that despite the danger, we can do something to overcome it. People feel helpless when they see pictures of devastated forests cut down and the glaciers melting and the poor polar bear sweating on its bare rock in the sea. “What can we do, what can we do?” People need to be told what it is that they can do. And they also need to feel that civil action, civil society, civil forms of involvement such as Parliament, local councils and so on, are there for a purpose, should be used and can be influenced … (full interview text, 18 Jan 2008).

Another video, Inside His Dark Materials, Episode 1, 60.00 min, Aug 28, 2008 … This video is accessible  only inside of the uk, means, it is set free for english schools.

links:

The Convention Modern Liberty, what next;

Henry Porter’s and Anthony Barnett’s views on What’s next;

Categories on wikipedia:

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