Penguin children's author Meg Rosoff's appearance at a Daily Telegraph Bath Festival of Children's Literature event has been cancelled by the Christian school hosting it, due to the "blasphemous" content of her book There is No Dog.
Rosoff was scheduled to appear yesterday (27th September) alongside Melvin Burgess and David Almond at Monkton Combe independent school in Bath as part of the festival's school programme, but the school, which has a Christian ethos, withdrew its invitation after learning of the book's "unsuitable" content. The story imagines God as a teenage boy, who spends his time thinking about girls and who is too lazy to spend a seventh day on the creation of the world.
The event, scheduled for yesterday daytime, eventually took place at King Edward's School in the city. Rosoff, Burgess and Almond also took part in an event at the Guildhall in the evening as part of the festival.
Penguin children's books publicity director Adele Minchin said: "A number of schools have declined to take us up on our offer to have Meg talk to their pupils about her new book because they felt it was too controversial a subject matter to expose their pupils to.
"I think it's a great shame that a school would see fit not to give their pupils the opportunity to explore their beliefs and to engage with such universal issues as religion with a hugely popular author of Meg's calibre . . . Her books are always thought-provoking, funny, challenging and insightful which is exactly why we publish her."
Rosoff said: "I have never written out of a desire to be controversial . . . It's disappointing that some schools feel that the subject of my book is unsuitable for their pupils as I consider it part of my job as a writer to explore sensitive issues, and to let my adolescent readers find hope, humour and redemption in a world full of danger and loss."