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On May 21st Meg Rosoff gave two workshops on voice to 50 girls at The Hewett School, Norwich, as part of our young women’s writing project which is supported by the Co-op Community Fund. Meg kindly agreed to be interviewed by Eve, Grace and Mollie in her lunch-break between workshops. Eve, Grace and Mollie then wrote the interview up for us to post on our blog. Many thanks to Meg and the girls for the lovely piece.
Interview with Meg Rosoff
Meg Rosoff, photo by Geoff Pugh
We enter the Hewett
School Library to find Meg sitting at the table, laid with lots of food. When
she saw us she quickly swallowed what she was eating and ushered us to come and
sit with her. Earlier she informed us that she is 57, she has cropped hair that
is chestnut brown, she wears stylish black glasses and dresses in an informal,
relaxed, laid-back sort of way, very much like her personality, later on,
though, she told us that appearances don’t matter.She kindly offered us all a cake and we obliged happily, and
started our interview.
We asked her if she knew
Stephen King, as she had a quote from him in one of her books (There is No
Dog), she laughed and replied,
“No I haven’t, though my
sister is neighbours with him, and sees him daily in the shop, that’s the
closest I am to knowing him!”
Although she has been in England since
she was around 20, she has still maintained an American accent. We thank her
for her answer and proceed.
“So, if you had a chance
to go back in time and change something, what would you change?”
“Well,” Rosoff begins,
“Of course I would go back and stop everything that Hitler did,”
We looked at her
inquisitively, then she exclaimed
“Oh, do you mean, in my
“Well, I would...” she stops,
sighs and continues, “I would stop my sister from dying”
We look at her with sympathy,
but let her carry on.
“I did well in school,
so people told me to go to Harvard, and I did, but I hated it,”
She looked at us, to
make sure that we were paying attention, pleased she went on.
“But if I didn’t go to
Harvard then I wouldn’t have ended up here in England writing books and
publishing them, because I left, and came here.”
We then asked some more
questions, the next was,
“What advice would you
give any young child who wishes to be an author?”
“Hmmm” she thinks
devouring the question like a sweet.
“There are three things”
She announced proudly, “Number One: Every writer starts of as a reader; you
need to read loads, whether it be books, milk bottles or even the back of a
cereal box, just read loads. Number Two: Write all the time. You’ll need
practise, you don’t have to write whole stories, and just jotting down notes is
good enough. Number Three: don’t rush, I call it the Lindsey Lohan Look, she
started acting when she was just 14, and look how she has ended up! Just take
your time, and you’ll get there.”
We then asked her what
gave her inspiration and she replied,
“I take my dog(s)
walking on Hampstead Heath I usually find inspiration there, I even wrote a
whole book, entirely based on a dog I’d seen there!”
We then ask her where
she does all her writing, she ponders on the question and then says:
“I do have a writing
desk, though I usually end up in my bed, its more comfortable!”
We ask if there are any
people that inspire her, she doesn’t need much time on this one, straightaway
“Sally Gardner.” (Author
of the costa children’s book award 2012’s Maggot Moon.)“Sally Gardner is my saviour.”She announces matter-of-factly.
“Whenever I need help
with a book, I go straight to her, she is especially good plots, she is the
queen of plots!”
Unfortunately then the
bell rang and we thanked Meg for all her time and help and left. Overall we
think that Meg Rosoff is an amazing person as well as a hardworking author and
it was a privilege to meet her!