Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Magical morning coffee

As the tsunami that is Harry Potter starts to recede, and we survey the aftermath around us, there is still time for a few more segments on the morning news! Fortunately, it seems that Harry Potter loves to cook breakfast. Who knew?

Today's TVNZ's Breakfast show yet again featured another look at the franchise, this time from an academic point of view. Guest Claudia Marquis, of the University of Auckland's English Department, joined the show to talk about her thoughts on the book, the long-term impact on children and reading, and its status as a piece of legitimate literature. Generally she was complimentary of the Potter tales and felt that the characters offered good role models. As to the lasting effects of readership as a result of all this, she was more a little more dubious.

When asked about the popularity of the series, she suggested that it was 'in the right place at the right time." To paraphrase: 'At the time the first Harry Potter book came out, the divorce rate in stories for children had actually exceeded the real world divorce rate. Kids were looking for something fun and wanted a break from reality.' On the question of the academic merits of Rowling's work, she was diplomatic and acknowledged that Rowling has grown as a writer with each book. As so many others have suggested, Claudia felt that Rowling could occasionally benefit from a stronger Editor (Order of the Phoenix needed to shed about 200 pages).

Claudia did take the opportunity to highlight some writers she liked more when it came to junior fiction. Philip Pullman was mentioned for his 'His Dark Materials' trilogy, as well as some Kiwi authors including Vicky Jones and Margaret Mahy.

And, on that note, I'll end this post with a link that may be of interest to you aspiring writers in our ranks. I Should Be Writing is a podcast/weblog site by writer Mur Lafferty who's spent the last few years navigating towards getting her works published. Admittedly, the publishing landscape in the United States is different than in New Zealand, but may still be worth a listen.


1 comment:

mightymur@gmail.com (Mur Lafferty) said...

Thanks for the plug. I honestly don't know much about the NZ publishing landscape, but I hope the writing advice at least helps. :)