YA author Robert Muchamore has sparked a row in the children's sector after accusing authors and publishers of being "overwhelmingly negative" following the launch party of Imagine Festival at the Southbank Centre.
In a FaceBook post, Muchamore said he was tired of the way that the agenda in children's publishing is being set by a well-meaning clique that was negative about "pretty much" everything.
Speakers Michael Rosen and Francesca Simon talked about problems with the school curriculum and Gove, while Patrick Ness "rambled on", said Muchamore. "The weird thing is that as my books have become bestsellers in many European markets, I've increasingly been exposed to people who are in awe of the success of UK children's publishing," he said, adding: "But our own authors seem to portray some kind of doom laden literary crisis that I can't in any way relate to the thousands of kids I've spoken to in schools and at book signings over the past ten years."
The author said the problems highlighted by Rosen, Simon and Ness seemed "trivial".
"We live in an age when 50% of kids go to university, books cost less to buy than the return bus fare for two people to go to the library and whenever I leave the UK, everyone raves about our amazing history of kids books and kids writers," he said on the social network.
The Facebook post has already sparked debate across social media and Jeff Norton published a blog post accusing Muchamore of having "an ‘I'm all right Jack' selective ignorance".
"I do wish that if Robert Muchamore isn't interested in supporting and saving the schools and libraries infrastructure that have contributed to his financial success, and the individual social mobility of a generation of children, that he'd just stay home, shut up, and write more books," he said.
On Facebook, Matt Haig said he quite liked the "honest curmudgeonly tone" of Muchamore's rant but argued that we live an age many people can't afford books, because "the safety net that keeps Britain a great, caring one-for-all nation is being cut away".
Patrick Ness simply said: "Oh, Robert. I made a lovely red velvet cake today with vanilla frosting. Want a piece?"
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