Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting in a Right Snit over Kid Lit

If you are not directly involved in the world of children's literature, you might have missed the kidlit tidbit that has us writers all in a kerfuffle. Wannabe literary icon Martin Amis - what? you haven't heard of him? [snorf]  - gave an interview to the Guardian last week in which he said the only way he'd lower himself to write for children was if he had a "brain injury."

Needless to say, we kidlitters got our shortpants in a twist. But leave it to fabulous author and illustrator Patricia Storms to come up with the pitch-perfect response. She drew up some hilarious cartoons of Marty goin' native, kidlit style.

With Patricia Storms' permission, I am reposting her brill blogpost in its delightful entirety below. Thanks, Trish!

It's no surprise that Stormsy's wit and wisdom got traction, not only here in Canada, but all across the litosphere. Yesterday, the London Evening Standard picked up the story. Their wry observation? "her Amis as the Grinch may be a bit too close to the mark ..."

I've suggested to Stormsy that her next step should be to invite Marty to tea. Challenge him to match wits with her one and one. He'd be toast.

If she does, I'm hoping she will invite her oh-so-clever-but--still-perfectly-nice writer friends (both qualities ARE possible at once, Marty, really) to join the party. Whatever would I wear, though? The Paddington outfit? Or maybe something blingy, like Fancy Nancy. Or an Olivia tutu?

No! No! I got it! I'll come dressed as Harold, with nuthin' but my purple crayon....

Here's Patricia Storms' blogpost. Read and follow her regularly at

Only a Brain Injury Could Make Me Draw Martin Amis

Well, perhaps that's an exaggeration. I mean, I don't think I have a brain injury, and look what I've gone and done – drawn a whack of cartoons of this silly man. Never mind that I also draw and write for kids. Yikes – I must have a brain injury!

For those not in the know, Martin Amis recently made some silly comments on a BBC book programme called Falks on Fiction. In a nutshell, here's what Amis said that's got some folks cheesed off:

People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children's book. I say, 'If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children's book', but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you're directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable. I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write.

I can see why folks in the kidlit world would be offended by this, but really, this isn't the first time Amis has spouted such idiocy, and it certainly won't be the last. That's what this lad is known for. He says something stupid, and then people pay attention to him. We should all just ignore this wanker and move on to more important stuff. Unless, of course, Amis' utter wankerness inspires some creative fun. So it got me thinking: Perhaps Mr. Amis just needs to 'get into' some classic kidlit characters in order to truly appreciate the beauty of children's literature:

Hmmm...The Cat in the Hat, perhaps?

No, I think Amis is more Grinch than Cat in the Hat.

I bet deep down inside, Martin Amis has always wanted to dress up like Madeline...

You can never go wrong when you go Moomin, Martin.

Would you let this Pigeon drive the bus?

I wonder if Amis has ever felt like a Wimpy Kid...

If only Amis was as Curious as George, then he'd make the effort to understand the fine art of creating children's literature.

If you found this Bear at the Paddington Station, would you take him home with you?

We all know Amis was a Wild Thing in his youth, but these days? Meh.

I think Mr. Amis needs to take some lessons from the sweet and lovely Lola of Charlie and Lola fame.

Would Amis have to be Mad as a Hatter to want to write for children?

Meh. Enough of this silliness. Tip your hat to Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and let's call it a day.

My sincere apologies to all the authors and illustrators who took part in my silly fun – it's only because I love your work so much that I chose you as part of my spoof.

February 13, 2011 in Cartoons and Comic Art, Humour, Writers and Writing

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