Pullman on genre and bias

Philip Pullman is a damn genius. Here’s the text of a talk he gave telling people to read whatever the hell they want to read. Looking forward to the new adaptation of His Dark Materials for the telly. (Truly one of the best fantasy series I’ve ever read, and ostensibly for children — trailer-that-doesn’t-look-shitty-like-the-movie-from-2007 below.)

Not only that; do we really believe that men have nothing to learn from stories by and about women? That white people already know all they need to know about the experience of black people? Segregation always shuts out more than it lets in. When we say, “This book is for such-and-such a group,” what we seem to be saying, what we’re heard as saying, is: “This book is not for anyone else.” It would be nice to think that normal human curiosity would let us open our minds to experience from every quarter, to listen to every storyteller in the marketplace. It would be nice too, occasionally, to read a review of an adult book that said, “This book is so interesting, and so clearly and beautifully written, that children would enjoy it as well.”

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