Aidan Chambers

Literary Birthday – 27 December – Aidan Chambers

Happy Birthday, Aidan Chambers, born 27 December 1934.


  1. Books are essential to me. I cannot live without them, because I cannot live without reading.
  2. How difficult it is to explain yourself to yourself.
  3. Few pleasures, for the true reader, rival the pleasure of browsing unhurriedly among books: old books, new books, library books, other people’s books, one’s own books – it does not matter whose or where. Simply to be among books, glancing at one here, reading a page from one over there, enjoying them all as objects to be touched, looked at, even smelt, is a deep satisfaction.
  4. And often, very often, while browsing haphazardly, looking for nothing in particular, you pick up a volume that suddenly excites you, and you know that this one of all the others you must read. Those are great moments – and the books we come across like that are often the most memorable.
  5. Funny how, when you’re about to be given something precious, something you’ve wanted for a long time, you suddenly feel nervous over taking it.
  6. Sometimes the course of our lives depends on what we do or don’t do in a few seconds, a heartbeat, when we either seize the opportunity, or just miss it. Miss the moment and you never get a chance again.
  7. Belief means willing yourself to give all your attention to living with loving gladness in the world you think really exists.
  8. What a need we humans have for confession. To a priest, to a friend, to a psychoanalyst, to a relative, to an enemy, even to a torturer when there is no one else, it doesn’t matter so long as we speak out what moves within us. Even the most secretive of us do it, if no more than writing in a private diary. And I have often thought as I read stories and novels and poems, especially poems, that they are no more than authors’ confessions transformed by their art into something that confesses for us all. Indeed, looking back on my life-long passion for reading, the one activity that has kept me going and given me the most and only lasting pleasure, I think this is the reason that explains why it means so much to me. The books, the authors who matter the most are those who speak to me and speak for me all those things about life I most need to hear as the confession of myself.
  9. Readers are made by readers.
  10. Life is not like a novel, but a novel can be like life. The best ones always are.

Aidan Chambers is a British author of children’s and young-adult novels. He won the British Carnegie Medal and the American Printz Award for Postcards From No Man’s Land. He won the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2002.


Niccolò Caranti, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

Are you interested in more authors’ birthdays? Please click here: Literary Birthday Calendar

Posted on: 27th December 2014