Archive for June, 2012

Fahrenheit 451 and other temperatures

June 12, 2012

Now, Senoras, how would you feel if I told you to hand over all your books … so that I could put them on a big bonfire and burn them? You see, books cause dangerous thoughts so it’s best to hand them over to me for safe disposal.

Okay … only kidding, but that’s the story behind Fahrenheit 451 by the American author Ray Bradbury, who died on 5th June last aged 91. In addition to Fahrenheit 451, which was made into a movie, you may like to look up a couple of his other books The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man.

If you feel so inclined, pull out that brand-new notebook of yours – the one that you’ve hardly used – and throw down some thoughts …

Write On: Here’s a question for you. From your home library collection (you do have a home library, don’t you?), which five books would you hide and save from the pyre?

And here’s a quote from Fahrenheit 451 to set your thinking:

Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.

Write On: What, then, will you leave behind?

Finally, here’s Ray Bradbury in 2008, aged 87, talking about reading, imagination, doing what you love and … writing.

(Credit: National Endowment for the Arts, 2008)

And here’s a poem from me for Ray Bradbury:

In the chronicles:

Illustrated homecoming

To dandelions.


Summer Starts Here

June 9, 2012

Senoras, take a breath. Relax. Read a book. After all, you’ve all been saying that you haven’t had time to read for pleasure for a very long time. But now your exams are over and it’s playtime. Unless, of course, you have to do summer school.

Here’s my suggestion. Keep an eye on the blog. Tell us what you are reading and what you are writing. Through the summer, I’ll suggest reading ideas and writing ideas and send you lots of inspiring thoughts – that is, if I manage to have any.

So, I’ll start with something that caught my eye recently. This year’s Orange Prize for Fiction was awarded to Madeline Miller for her book The Song of Achilles.


If you didn’t already know about Achilles, you may have seen him in the shape of Brad Pitt in the movie Troy. Madeline’s book is remarkable for other reasons. It is a debut novel – in other words, it is her first book and yet it has won her a high-profile award, plus the equivalent of around 170,000 AED in prize money. And she did it all because she was passionate about her characters and their story. Here’s Madeline talking about how she came to write the book.

What characters from literature or from history fire you up? Post a message and let us know.