John Boyne Interview




Interview: John Boyne
by Karen Roy











John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize.

His 2006 novel, THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PYJAMAS, was made into an award-winning Miramax film. The novel itself won 2 Irish Book Awards, the Bisto Book of the Year, and was shortlisted or won a host of international awards. Amongst other accolades, it spent more than 80 weeks at no.1 in Ireland, topped the New York Times Bestseller List, and was the bestselling book in Spain in both 2007 and 2008. Worldwide, it has sold more than 5 million copies.

His novels are published in 44 languages. His eighth novel, NOAH BARLEYWATER RUNS AWAY, a book for younger readers, was published in October 2010 and reached no.1 on the Irish Bestseller Chart. It was also shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year. His most recent novel, THE ABSOLUTIST, was published in 2011, and a new children’s book, THE TERRIBLE THING THAT HAPPENED TO BARNABY BROCKET, will be published in the UK, Australia and Ireland in August 2012.

I caught up with John the day after he’d just flown back from a literary festival in Sri lanka ...


We are looking forward to our travels with Barnaby Brocket. What inspired the character?

‘The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket’ was inspired very much by Jules Verne in that it’s a modern, if slightly different, take on the idea of Around The World In 80 Days. The fantastical element to the novel, the thing that makes Barnaby different to other boys, was something which came to me one day while I was walking my dog! Readers can discover what that is when the book is published on August 2nd.

Of all the awards you have received, which means the most to you and why?

COMMISSIONED TO INVENT

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 by Elizabeth Baines
 








I’m currently working with a producer to develop ideas for radio drama, and it’s got me thinking about the business of commissioning and its implications for literary production and our culture.




















Ben Hatch
Interview: Karen Roy 

Ben Hatch is a former journalist and the author of Lawnmower Celebrity and Are We Nearly There Yet? 8000 Misguided Miles Round Britain in a Vauxhall Astra. He was born in London and has also lived in Manchester and Buckinghamshire.


Did you know you were going to write Are We Nearly There Yet? when on tour for the Frommer's book, or did you decide to do it later?

I had no idea it would turn into a travelogue/memoir at the time. I just set out to write the best guidebook I could. It was only later when my guidebook editor at Frommer’s, Mark Henshall, suggested it, that I thought, ’he’s right, it would make a good story’.

Lawnmower Celebrity is obviously autobiographical (Ben's father was Sir David Hatch of BBC Radio). Did you really sneak out your dad's contact book and make spoof calls to the likes of Henry Kelly, Paul Daniels and Noel Edmonds?

Agility in Writing – From Literary Fiction to Comedy and Back

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My first published story was called ‘Elton John’s Mother’ and though the curious reader might expect to find some gossip about the great star’s mum, the story had nothing to do with David Furnace’s talented husband. Instead it was a take-off of welfare mothers living in a caravan park along the Queensland coast, one of whom named her kids after pop stars. Though it seemed funny and was written in local slang with some sharp humour, the narrator suffered from post-natal depression, a child was kidnapped, kids were produced for welfare cheques and little else, the boyfriends abused the women and the women abused the system. It was an environment that provided absolutely no hope. To my surprise the story was included in the publisher’s big anthology, along with the biggie Australian authors of the time. Comedy? Literary Fiction? What was really going on there?