Here’s my latest column for Eastern Daily Press, pointing out that celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney are dominating the children’s writing market – leaving little room for genuine new talent to come through. Here’s an extract:
What’s my beef?
I’m a little bit bored of celebrities jumping on the bandwagon and releasing children’s books. Actually bored doesn’t quite cover it. I feel the glut of actors, actresses, singers and presenters using their fame to dominate the world of children’s literature is actively unhelpful. They’re all at it, Fearne Cotton, Miranda Hart, David Baddiel… the list really is endless. And you know what? Some of these books are really quite good. My point, however, is whether these books are good or not is a complete afterthought. They sell because of the fame of the writer – we’re in a horrible position where parents and grandparents are buying into brands when purchasing literature; rather than looking at the content of the books themselves.
Why is this a problem?Chris McGuire, Eastern Daily Press
Imagine if you will that the same thing happened with that bastion of our society: football. What if the Premier League was suddenly filled with celebrities; placed into teams not because of their footballing ability, but dependent upon how famous they were. The quality of games would drop immediately. And what would happen to the naturally gifted footballers? Where would they learn and develop – if all the places were filled by TOWIE cast members?
It’s the same with writing. It’s hard enough to get a kids’ book published as it is – trust me, it’s something I’ve struggled (and failed) to do myself. The new writing voices that used to come through the system based on merit are being drowned out – they’re not getting the agents, or the publicity that they need because all the oxygen and money is being sucked up by ‘thingy’ who used to be on ‘that programme’. It really isn’t fair.
For the full piece, click here.