Jonathan Meres, the creator of The World of Norm, is our Gala Dinner speaker at this year’s conference. I had the pleasure of meeting him recently at the Red House Children’s Book Award ceremony, and also of conducting a quick fire interview with him.
FCBG: What’s your earliest memory associated with books?
Jonathan Meres: Annuals. ‘The Robin’ comic annual. Blue Peter annuals. Fireball XL5, Huckleberry Hound. Ladybird & Observer books too.
FCBG: Which living author/illustrator do you most admire and why?
Jonathan Meres: Alexander McCall Smith, not only because of his frankly sickening prolificness but because his prose is like honey. Runny honey, not set. And not the cheap stuff either.
FCBG: What’s your favourite book and why?
Jonathan Meres: I’m rubbish at choosing favourite this or thats. Having said that, I do love John Irving and early Iain Banks. So if you really pressed me – right now I’d say The Crow Road because it has the greatest opening sentence ever.
FCBG: Which fictional landscape / home / country would you like to holiday in and why?
Jonathan Meres: Nutwood [of Rupert Bear fame]. Because everything rhymes. Or failing that I’d love to suddenly find myself frolicking about in the idyllic post-war landscape of Ladybird’s ‘What To Look For In Summer,’ riding on tractors, flagrantly ignoring any regard for health and safety.
FCBG: If you could travel back in time, which author/illustrator from the past would you most like to meet and why?
Jonathan Meres: Charles M. Schulz so that I could lock him up and take all the credit for Peanuts.
FCBG: What’s the funniest thing anyone has ever asked you at an author event?
Jonathan Meres: How many jobs haven’t you had?
FCBG: Is there a book you wish you had written, and why?
Jonathan Meres: Some kind of history book. Because that would probably mean that I was very good at history. Which I’m not.
FCBG: What book(s) are you reading at the moment?
Jonathan Meres: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry.
FCBG: What book are you writing at the moment?
Jonathan Meres: The 5th – as yet untitled World Of Norm.
FCBG: Have you a book themed joke you can share with us?*
Jonathan Meres: Chicken walks into a library and goes ‘buk, buk, buk, buk, buk.’ Couple of minutes later a frog walks in and goes ‘reddit, reddit, reddit.’
FCBG: #groaning Thanks, Jonathan! See you at conference!”