Malorie Blackman: The Children's Laureate talks writer's block, Noel Gallagher and being a warlock

 

I go to great pains to make sure children don't think I'm just another teacher Part of my job as Children's Laureate is to visit schools and talk about my love of books and stories, and encourage them all to do it as well – to read, to write, to never be afraid of their own voice. Because we all have something to say.

Books are my first love I started reading seriously at seven or eight, books about myths and legends, the Narnia series… By the time I was 11, I had read all the children's books in my local library, so I moved on to Jane Eyre. What I loved about Jane Eyre was that she didn't rely on her looks but her character. She had a spirit nobody could break.

We need to save our libraries I know we are living in austere times, and the authorities have to make savings somewhere, but the damage done in decimating our library service will affect not just this generation but future generations, too. It might seem an easy saving now, but we will pay for it in the long run.

I was never sporty as a child I didn't mind tennis, rounders – summer games – but I hated hockey and netball. So I'd disappear into the school library. I suppose I've always lived in my own head. I didn't discover boys till sixth form. Then suddenly it was, "Oh! Boys!"

Noel Gallagher is missing out He's said that reading fiction is a waste of time. Presumably he never came across books that moved him – and that's a real shame. But as a songwriter he is doing the same as an author, even in something such as "Wonderwall". He is telling a story, evoking an emotion. He is entitled to his point of view, of course, but I think he's missing out on a lot.

I never thought I'd be a role model I just wanted to write stories, and I wanted to write books that had black characters in them, but that had nothing to do with race. I believe we need more culturally diverse books – about disabled characters, though not about their disability, about people with different sexual orientations, or a boy who is a cross-dresser. We need to reflect the diversity of our society.

To succeed, you need discipline If, for example, you want to be a writer, you need to apply your bum to the chair, and get on with it. Everyone has ideas, but it's all about perseverance. I wrote about eight or nine books and had 82 rejections before I first got published, but there was no way I was ever going to give up.

I'm a druid! Sometimes, a warlock. I love being both in World of Warcraft – it's my favourite computer game. I give myself half-an-hour at lunchtime to play, and perhaps longer in the evening. It is very addictive, though, so I have to remind myself that computer games don't pay the bills.

I find It's so important to Revel in the arts About four years ago now, I had a serious case of writer's block. I thought my career was over. So I decided to do other creative things in the hope of getting my own creative juices flowing again. I started piano lessons, I went to art galleries, museums, the theatre. It worked. It got me back writing. I was very relieved.

You must never let your brain atrophy Every year my husband and I take a course in something. He's done quantum physics, maths, Latin; I've done Chinese, drumming, music production. Why? Because it's important to exercise your brain. It's a lot of fun, too.

Malorie Blackman, 51, is the Waterstones Children's Laureate from 2013 to 2015. Her latest novel, 'Noble Conflict', is published by Doubleday, priced £12.99

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific