Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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On tour: Katherine Rundell

Katherine Rundell is the author of children’s books The Wolf Wilder (Bloomsbury) and Rooftoppers (Faber). She will be appearing at the Perth Writers Festival in February.

What would you put on a shelf-talker for The Wolf Wilder?

This book has fire, and rescue missions, and ballet, and snow, and the Russian revolution, and wolves streaked with gold.

What are you reading right now?

Infinite Jest (David Foster Wallace, Little, Brown). Every year I resolve that I’m going to read it; this year, I’ve finally begun it. So far, I love it, but it is so heavy that it broke the strap on my bag.

What are you planning to read next?

The Great Soul of Siberia, Sooyong Park’s book about tracking and filming Siberian tigers (HarperCollins).

Which book do you always recommend?

For children: Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (HarperCollins). For adults: I would say, if you haven’t read Jane Austen’s Emma (various imprints), or Nabakov’s Pale Fire (Penguin), then there are such joys awaiting you.

What was the defining book of your childhood?

There were many. I fell in love with Roald Dahl’s Matilda (Puffin) and the idea that a bookish girl can be a heroine, and with Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, various imprints) and Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes (various imprints).

If you were a literary character you’d be …

I’d like to be Max, from Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak, Random House).

What’s your favourite book adaptation (film, television or theatre)?

I loved Studio Ghibli’s version of Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle.

What’s your favourite books website or blog?

Can I say Twitter? It’s where I find wonderful book recommendations.

Hardback, paperback or digital?

Hardback for illustrated books, paperback otherwise.

Facebook or Twitter?


In 50 years’ time books will be …

Physically, I think there will be both a growing market for more beautiful books as objects, as well as more use of ereaders. There will be more diverse voices, experiments with style—and also loyalty to tradition and to the narrative structures we see in Defoe and Dickens. I don’t know, really, but I do know people will never stop needing stories. They’re how we make sense of the world and offer up our heart to the future.


Category: Junior newsletter On tour On tour