Grave words from Neil Gaiman

I did not want to like Neil Gaiman’s Newbery speech. True, I liked The Graveyard Book, but he isn’t really a children’s book writer; that isn’t his primary form of writing. And, clearly, he hadn’t paid his dues.

Or so I thought.

Then I heard him say that the idea had come to him 20+ years ago and that it was a great idea but that he wasn’t a great writer. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially he said it took him 20 years of work to “earn” the idea, and that there were times “when the cake didn’t rise.” It was pretty clear he’d paid his dues, he’d done the work.

So, now he’s back on my Christmas card list.

No Responses to “Grave words from Neil Gaiman”

  1. Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina

    I read The Graveyard Book, since I love ghost stories. The first chapter seemed so edgy and scary, I wasn’t sure if it was a good read for children; but then I really got into it and liked it very much, partly due to the humor running all through it. The writing really is superb. Still, yes, he doesn’t quite feel like a children’s book writer, although I can think of former sixth grade students of mine that would love being scared while reading this book.

  2. Kim T. Griswell

    There are a few adult writers whose work seems to transition wonderfully into books for kids, and Gaiman is one of them, though his “filters” are different from mine (he’s way edgier than I would be). THE WOLVES IN THE WALLS, for example, is probably guaranteed to give a kid like I was nightmares, and I really think Kathi Appelt should have won the Newbery for THE UNDERNEATH, I still loved THE GRAVEYARD BOOK. Gaiman’s books transcend generations, much as do Tolkien’s and C.S. Lewis’s, etc. They’re just darned good reads. And, yes, he’s paid his dues.

    Kim T. Griswell