“I did badly in English at school. I couldn’t get myself to care about Shakespeare and Robert Frost when I was 15, so I thought that meant I never would. Because I loved reading so much, back then I immediately clocked that the books that I saw on the English syllabus were completely unlike anything that mattered to me and I wasn’t able to engage with them. As a result, I shot myself in the foot a bit with my grades and was probably a fairly cranky student. I’m probably not the only one that’s happened to and it’s such a shame – it’s just a matter of inviting young readers in warmly. There are lots of stunning books that are available to teenagers about their experience, extending a hand, welcoming them in and saying ‘Hey, I might be like you!’ and that’s vital, because once you get a young person reading, they won’t stop; it’ll be there for them forever. It’s a gateway out into the rest of the world.”
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