When Will Writers for Adults Understand?

The British novelist Martin Amis has decided it is not enough to promote adult literature (at least his own books), but that he also has to insult those who write for young people. His recent comments on the BBC program “Fauks on Fiction” appear below in italics.

It appears that Mr. Amis believes his adult readers appear out of the mist with no previous knowledge or experience of literature. In reality, Mr. Amis would have few, if any readers, if they had not experienced a connection with story as children and young adults. In other words, his audience discovers his books because they’ve enjoyed the writing of those he dismisses as “brain injured.” If Mr. Amis has no interest in respecting or connecting with readers, not to mention those writers who help create his audience, why does he bother being publish?

From the the BBC program “Fauks on Fiction”

People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children’s book. I say, ‘If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children’s book’, but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you’re directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable.


He went on to add, “I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write.”

Fortunately, those of us writing picture books respect and honor our audience, and know that the age of our audience has nothing to do with the quality of writing.