Philip Pullman on indie booksellers, graphic novels, festival pay and more

Philip Pullman on indie booksellers, graphic novels, festival pay and more

As well as writing, Philip Pullman has been outspoken on a number of issues affecting fellow authors over the years. Here, we take a look at some of his best quotes.

"As more and more classic graphic novels appear there will evolve new ways of talking about them and forums for talking about them, such as university degrees. It will be possible to talk about comics in a grown-up, sensible way."
-on whether graphic novels get the attention they deserve, May 13th 2016, The Bookseller

"Festivals pay everyone else who's professionally involved. They pay for the electricity they use, they pay rent for the lecture halls they hire, they pay the people who supply the marquees and the toilets, they pay the publicists and the professional administrators, they pay for the drinks receptions, they pay the people who cook and serve the 'black tie dinners', they pay the people who design and print the brochures and the programmes, they pay the people who do the cleaning. Only the authors are expected to work for nothing. Many of us have had enough of that."
-on why he quit as patron of Oxford Literary Festival, January 14th 2016, The Bookseller

"I very much want independent booksellers to survive and prosper. It's not exaggerating to say that they are the lantern bearers of civilisation."
-calling for the reintroduction of fixed book prices, July 30th 2017, the Times

"Having been a teacher myself, I know how I'd have felt if a pupil of mine had been in some similar disaster … The absolute injustice of it struck home with me, and must have done with so many others. So I'm very pleased to see the success of James Clements's initiative."
-on naming a character in his next book after a victim of the Grenfell Tower disaster, June 28th 2017, the Guardian

"From our positions as individual creators, whether of fiction or non-fiction, we authors see a landscape occupied by several large interests, some of them gathering profits in the billions, some of them displaying a questionable attitude to paying tax, some of them colonising the internet with projects whose reach is limitless and whose attitude to creators' rights is roughly that of the steamroller to the ant.
“It's a daunting landscape, far more savage and hostile to the author than any we’ve seen before. But one thing hasn't changed, which is the ignored, unacknowledged, but complete dependence of those great interests on us and on our talents and on the work we do in the quiet of our solitude."
-on the need for fairer terms for authors from publishers, January 6th 2016, the Guardian

"I'm against anything, from age-ranging to pinking and blueing, whose effect is to shut the door in the face of children who might enjoy coming in. No publisher should announce on the cover of any book the sort of readers the book would prefer. Let the readers decide for themselves."
-on supporting the Let Books Be Books campaign, March 17th 2014, The Bookseller

"Many writers felt as if we'd been presented with a fait accompli, and there was a certain amount of anger expressed. We decided that the best way forward was simply to say publicly, 'Not in our name.'"
-on not wanting publishers to give age guidance on children’s books, June 4th 2008, The Bookseller