According to acclaimed British novelist Martin Amis, he would only ever write a children’s book if he suffered brain damage. Okay. Well, the actual quote, delivered to Sebastian Faulks on the BBC, was “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 in anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable… I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write.” Oh, come on, Martin Amis.
Ignoring that the whole basis of your argument is that you don’t even know who you’re writing for – and therefore could very well be inadvertently writing for children, or, you know, cattle – don’t you think you sound a little silly? Just say you’re not a children’s book writer. Say it doesn’t interest you as a form, or, heaven forbid, say you don’t think you’d be good at it. You don’t have to cover up your pretension with more pretension. Everyone already knows you’re good at this.
The Guardian spoke to Jane Stemp, a children’s author with cerebral palsy, who said, “I have brain damage … So Amis couldn’t have insulted me harder if he’d sat down and thought about it for a year. Superglueing him to a wheelchair and piping children’s fiction into his auditory canal suddenly seems like a good idea.” We feel a new torture trend coming on, and Amis, who is generally known and accepted to be a bit of a bad boy with a penchant for speaking his mind, seems like the best person to try it out on. If only to hear what he’ll say.