Friday, December 13, 2013

Crabby with a side of frustrated...

In response to the University of Kent's woeful attitude toward children's literature and sadly a few other disparaging and dismissive comments on the subject, and the recent dismissal of the experienced and well regarded children's book reviewer, Amanda Craig, at the Times in the UK, Keren David posted about the persistent problem at An Awfully Big Blog Adventure. And then there was this on Nicola Morgan's blog. The Times wasn't interested in the letter regarding Miss Craig with over 420 signatories (many of them award winning children's authors and illustrators).

I don't expect all the grown up writers to know all about children's literature as well as adult literature (although it is possible to keep up with what's happening in both areas, I certainly give it a go). However it does seem very rude when sweeping generalisations are made about such a wide range of literature without actually cracking the spine on any examples, yet somehow the commentators are still qualified to talk as if knowledgeable on the subject. And if they are widely read in children's books are they saying that the adult experience is always going to be a better topic? Or that emotional, spiritual or any kind of personal or social growth or change is more worthy if experienced by an adult?  The comment  'JK Rowling is now trying to write proper books for grown-ups...' unfortunately does seem to be a common attitude held by many readers/writers/studiers of adult literature towards the creators of literature for children. Should I accept this idea that my books aren't 'proper' books? Or that writing a book for children does not require any effort or sophisticated thinking? That I am taking it 'easy'?Or that my effort is worth less? Or I am a lesser kind of adult? Why so defensive? Maybe it's the constant belittling. Or the bewildered reaction that appears when it is suggested that writing for children is also literature. I am so disappointed that writers would do this to other writers. I am disappointed that this kind of thoughtless dismissiveness is delivered so easily. There are wonderful supportive and encouraging exceptions but sadly I think they prove the rule. I would apologise that I appear disrespectful towards writers of, or academics in, adult literature but I've been wading through so much blithe disrespect recently some of it has tried to cling to me. I am shaking it off. It really stinks.  


   

2 comments:

Angela Soutar said...

hear, hear. Thank goodness for well informed bloggers on children's lit.
I haven't worked my way through your blogroll but do you read Jennifer Burke?
Angela S

Angela Soutar said...

hear, hear. Thank goodness for well informed bloggers on children's lit.
I haven't worked my way through your blogroll but do you read Jennifer Burke?
Angela S