Regrets, I've had a few… My final Book Trust blog

Published on: 02 February 2015 Author: Philip Ardagh

The wise, handsome and hilarious (or so he told us) author Philip Ardagh, who's work includes the Norman the Norman and The Grunts series of books, became our eleventh Writer in Residence back in 2014. In this blog Philip gave us his final blog by writing a poem about his time as Writer in Residence.

Philip Ardagh

So you really are leaving, then, Philip?
Yup. My time has come.
Is it really six months since you became Book Trust's Writer in Residence?
Where does the time go?
If that's a genuine question rather than a rhetorical one, I'd say that I'm a firm believer in Einstein's Galvanized Bucket Theory.
What's that?
That, once passed, time collects in a galvanized bucket of infinite volume.
No, not really. That was an attempt at humour. I'm Roald-Dahl-Prize-winningly-funny, you know. It's official.
If you say so.
I just did.
Have you enjoyed your time here?
Yup. Writing a blog once a week for six months has been harder than I imagined, though.
In what way? Coming up with subjects to write about?
Not at all. With the terrible state of public libraries and the lack of diversity in children's books, there's always been plonty to write about.
What's 'plonty'?
It's a typo.
How can it be a typo when we're speaking?
Perhaps you're a fictional character who only exists on the screen, created for the sole purpose of my seemingly having a conversation.
How is your God complex, by the way?
Very well, thank you.
I thought so... So what was harder than expected about writing your weekly blog?
That the time to write the next blog came round so soon, and then the one after that and the one after that.
I noticed that there were fewer and fewer photographs as time went on.
Well spotted! You're not as stupid as you look.
How DO I look, by the way?
I'm not sure. I haven't even decided whether you're male or female yet.
Make me female, will you? I've had my eye on rather a nice little black dress.
Be that as it may, we were talking about the sudden lack of photos. Early on in my tenure, I felt the blogs needed prettification.
But weren't the majority of photos of YOU?
I rest my case. But, as time went on, I realised that, for me, it was the words that really mattered.
What about the responses? The feedback from other people?
That's been great. The most important thing about something such as the Book Trust blog is having a platform that results in a conversation.
But, looking back, I notice that some of your blogs haven't garnered a single comment.
I like your use of 'garnered'. A good word that.
I think you're trying to change the subject.
Do you want that little black dress or not?
Maybe people didn't respond because they were struck dumb by the beauty of your prose?
That's better! Actually, people responded to different blogs in different ways. Some resulted in plenty -
Not plonty?
No, plenty. Some resulted in plenty of responses in the Comments section here on the website itself, some were responded to mainly on my Facebook page where I posted a link. Others resulted in people commenting and retweeting the link to a particular blog on Twitter.
On that basis, which would you say were your most popular blogs? At least, the ones that created most interest? Generated the most traffic?
Hark you with your Internet-savvy jargon. I'm erring on the side of making you a man without the slightest fashion sense at all.
Don't over-egg the little-black-dress gag.
Fair enough. The most popular blogs by far have been the ones about the lack of characters with disabilities in children's books, public libraries and, funnily enough, writing dialogue.
I notice you've been doing more dialogue-style blogs since the popularity of that one you wrote back on 15th December
Too true. I find it a very relaxing way to write.
And it is all about YOU, after all.
And now it's over.
Yup. And I'll miss it.
Any 'Thank you!'s?
Of course, to Nisha, James and Bridget at BookTrust.
What did they do?
Did you just shrug?
I think I did.
Isn't that rude?
I was joking. They were the facilitators who made it all happen, and cleared the beard-hairs out of my keyboard on a weekly basis.
How lovely for them.
I've heard rumours that they've been supplementing their meagre BookTrust income by selling little sachets of my beard hairs on eBay.
No, not really.
Another of your - er - jokes?
Did I mention that I'm Roald-Dahl-Prize-winningly funny?
Yes. Twice.
Any last words?
You make it sound as if I'm going to be taken out and shot.
Oh dear, I've spoilt the surprise.


You've been a lovely audience. Thank you. Happy reading!

Read more blogs from Philip

A tie must be worn at all times when writing a blog.A weekly blog is just one way of many ways of communicating with readers.Librarians are the NICEST people.Today's interviewer (without that little black dress).

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Meet our latest Writer in Residence

Every six months, BookTrust appoints a new Writer in Residence to write blogs, run competitions and give us their own unique perspective on the world of children's books. Our current Writer in Residence is Rashmi Sirdeshpande.

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