Author gets call from kids

OVER the course of his career Andy Griffiths, arguably Australia's most popular children's writer, has faced international audiences, big-shot publishers and serious literary critics, but this might have been his toughest interview yet.

Yesterday, the author of over 20 books, including short stories, comic novels and plays, was interviewed by six Alstonville Public School students about his new book, Just Doomed.

Torin Veronesi, Eli McLean, Tamryn Agoston, Otis Golightly, Aiisha Rafai-Rowan and Hamish Walker were each given advance copies of the book and then set the task of conducting a telephone interview with the author.

With the guidance of deputy principal Rhonda Thomson, the kids came up with their own questions such as "What type of child were you?", "Other than your own books, which is your favourite book?", "Are any of your stories based on true stories?".

It was Aiisha's question Mr Griffiths branded the hardest he has ever had to answer: "What does the word antidisestablishmentarianism mean?"

After the 30-minute interview, Mr Griffiths said he thoroughly enjoyed talking with the students.

"They were fantastic," Mr Griffith said.

"And it was great to get their feedback on the books, especially the new one.

"Because I spend so long working on them I'm never really sure if they are funny or not, or if they will be well received, so it was great to talk to the kids and find out which parts they enjoyed.

"I'd much rather be talking to the kids than writing!"

Kate Nash from Pan Macmillan, publishers of Just Doomed, said the interview was a departure from Mr Griffiths' usual book promotions.

"It's unusual to have kids conduct a media interview with any author, but I guess Andy Griffiths is not just any author," she said.

"It's always really funny and some of the questions kids ask are just brilliant.

"It's a nice departure from the usual formal interview process."

The interview and book review will be published in The Northern Star on Saturday.

Just Doomed is in bookstores now.

Topics:  books children's books

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