more on age branding | Philip Pullman and others

…an age-guidance figure is not information. It’s an opinion, but one that seems to have a special authority. There’s nothing wrong with a bookseller, for example, shelving one of my books on the 9-11 shelves; or a reviewer saying that the same book is suitable for 11 and upwards; or a teacher giving it to a child of eight, because she knows him and what he’s capable of reading. People make decisions and express views of that sort all the time. And their views differ, that’s the point. They are based on personal knowledge and opinion.

But when the book itself says 9+, or 11+, that figure has quite a different status. It looks as if the author is assenting to it; it looks as if I’m saying: “I wrote this for 11-year-olds. Everyone else can keep out.”

And I did not.

Philip Pullman on age branding in last Saturday’s Guardian and in Thursday’s Telegraph. The Forbidden Planet blog has a response to the article - and how age branding affects comics. Some interesting comments on the Book Fox blog after publishing Darren Shan’s statement, worth a read indeed!

> everyone’s talking about… age branding
> everyone really is talking about age branding…


and the nominees are… | CBI Bisto Book of the Year Award 2008

Interesting shortlist for the 2008 awards (not an O’Brien Press book on the list… or too many other Irish publishers!) Delighted to see Siobhan Dowd, deservedly, on the list alongside Tom Kelly and Michael Scott’s The Alchemyst. Some disappointing omissions (Enda Wyley/Derek Landy) and a few unexpected inclusions: Caitriona Nic Sheain and Jessica O’Donnell who are both new to me.

Two names that are not strangers to the shortlist, Oliver Jeffers and Kate Thompson both make a reappearance - and the grand-daddy of Dublin literature Roddy Doyle (also up for an Irish Book Award) is the last name on the list. Now, time to get reading.
Full shortlist:

The Alychemyst - Michael Scott
The Black Book of Secrets - FE Higgins
Discover Art - Jessica O’Donnell
Gaiscioch na Beilte Uaine - Caitriona Nic Sheain agus Andrew Whitson
The Last of the High Kings - Kate Thompson
The London Eye Mystery - Siobhan Dowd
The Thing with Finn - Tom Kelly
Titanic 2020 - Colin Bateman
The Way Back Home - Oliver Jeffers
Wilderness - Roddy Doyle

> Click here for details on the winners.

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