Frank Cottrell Boyce

Literary Birthday – 23 September – Frank Cottrell Boyce

Happy Birthday, Frank Cottrell Boyce, born 23 September 1959.


  1. I write because it’s a chance to remind people of just how miraculous and amazing ordinary things are.
  2. I think it’s really important who you write for. A lot of writers say they write to please themselves, which is really pure and good, but I was taken aback when I went to Misheel’s school by how much I wanted to reach the children, please them, make them laugh.
  3. I don’t think films ever change people the way books change people.
  4. I was no great shakes at primary school. Then I got ill and had to stay in bed for a few days and that’s when I read Ursula le Guin‘s A Wizard of Earthsea – and the way she writes about magic and knowledge in that book made me see for the first time that knowing stuff and learning things was really important and exciting. That book made me clever! In a single afternoon. I’ve never forgotten just how much I owe and what a massive impact that book had on me.
  5. Being read to at school changed my life.
  6. Keep a diary. Not a big soulful one. Buy yourself an Oxfam diary – which has great pictures but not much room to write – and just write one sentence per day. Not about yourself. About something funny / sad / strange you saw or heard. It’s a great discipline and at the end, you’ve got a really good read.
  7. I want them to laugh. It’s important to me. There are a lot of people telling kids life isn’t worth living. I want to tell them it’s great.
  8. When I was in year six, I wrote an essay in class that had some jokes in it. The teacher thought it was funny so she read it out to the class.
  9. Novels are hard because you’ve got to have total faith in yourself and no one is going to reassure you till you’ve finished. You start getting feedback from your screenplay before you start writing. With a book, you’re on your own.
  10. People possess books in the way they never do film. You live with a book for weeks and books soak up the circumstances in which you read them. You remember you read it on the beach, or on the train. You own a book in the way you never own a film.

Frank Cottrell Boyce is a British screenwriter and novelist, known for his children’s fiction and for his collaborations with film director Michael Winterbottom. Boyce won the 2004 Carnegie Medal for Millions, and the 2012 Guardian Prize for The Unforgotten Coat.

Source for Image,_2015,_in_Berlin.JPG

CHRISTOPH RIEGER, CC BY-SA 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 23rd September 2014