Things keep happening that make me go @**!!argh@*

I want to write a blog that’s funny and upbeat. Honest, I really do. But THINGS KEEP HAPPENING. You won’t believe this one; I’m telling you, you won’t. First of all, check out this picture:


This is poet Ian McMillan  Does this look like a subversive man to you? A man so dangerous in his political views that he should be prevented from teaching creative writing to children? No, of course not. I’ve heard Ian speak many times. He is hilarious. His poems are funny and accessible. In other words, he’s perfect for motivating and inspiring children to write. So what’s up, I hear you ask.

Here’s what’s up. Ian was due to run some workshops with children in a Sheffield library but the council has made the organisers cancel it. Why? Because Ian has been warning about the impact library closures will have on people. Not in front of children – that would be daft – but through the proper channels (newspapers etc). Yet the council has labelled him an agitator and therefore unsuitable to What do they think he’s going to do in his workshop? Have all the kids making placards and marching on county hall?

If it wasn’t so ridiculous, I’d laugh. Actually, it’s more than ridiculous, it’s scary. It could be me next seeing as I’ve been doing the same. I’m not alone, either. Here are some other writers I know who have been protesting against library closures – in our own inimitable way by writing and Tweeting, mind – not throwing bombs or fire extinguishers at folk:

Alan Gibbons

Bali Rai

Katherine Langrish

Gwen Grant

Philip Pullman

Mary Hoffman

Justin Somper

Karen McCrombie

Keren David

Candy Gourlay

John Dougherty

Berlie Doherty

Diane Kimpton

… to name but a few. 

I wonder which children’s writers would be welcomed by Sheffield City Council?  Because I honestly can’t think of any who don’t share Ian’s views about the importance of libraries.

Leave Ian alone. He’s a Barnsley supporter. He’s suffered enough.


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