Mallory Blackman, Writer, London discussed on Desert Island Discs
There's this is the BBC highs. Kristy, young here, desert island discs is taking its usual summer break. So we thought we'd take this opportunity to showcase just a few programs from our extensive back catalog. And as this is a podcast, the music has been shortened for rights reasons. This week. My guest is the writer Mallory Blackman who I interviewed in twenty thirteen. My castaway this week is the writer Mallory Blackman a prolific and multi-award-winning author. She has powered her way to success not just through talent, but dogged determination and perseverance to from the careers mistress who told her black people don't become teachers to the eighty two rejection letters she received before she was published. Significant parts of our life seemed to have been spent proving people wrong at technology was her first career was in computing. As a writer, her books have tackled challenging, seems bullying teenage, pregnancy, racism, and terrorism. Currently, children's lawyers, her own formative years were spent in south London, whereas a little girl, she went from thinking, everyone was her friend to feeling as a teenager, but the world was her enemy. She says, goot stories, made me reassess the world and people as I thought I knew them great stories made me reassess myself. So Mallory Blackman, assessing ourselves. I think that's a very tricky thing to do. And what would you have put in the introduction that I didn't. I think that was a beautiful introduction Bank. You terms of an assessment of who you are, how would you sum yourself up? I'm still working that out. You know, the certain things. I think I'm not sure how I feel about that. So I think it's an ongoing process, but I think that's the way it should be really children. And particularly teenagers are who use specialize in writing four. And I would say that teenagers are are just about as tough as it gets in terms of an audience as a readership for them. How do you judge the right subjects in the right tone? I go for first and foremost. I go for the subjects that I would have been interested in a teenager all the topics I'd love to read about as a teenager. I hated it when people would say, oh, but you understand that and all they patronize you. So I desperately trying not to do that in my books. And what were you reading a teenager? Well, there were very few books for teenagers when I was growing up at quite a while ago. And so I went straight from the age of ten, eleven. I went straight onto reading adult books, and I was lucky because I had a really good. Librarian because I was dumb library so often. And she gave me a Jane Eyre when I was eleven and the first couple of chapters can, and then I got hooked and I loved it so much. And then I read Rebecca, and then I've devours George Eliot and so many others and then got into Shakespeare. I'd reach rechecked place for myself and I went some highly unsuitable things for eleven year olds like Jacqueline Susann and Dennis Wheatley empowered Robbins and so on. One of those people who can't give a book away. Once you've read it, do you have all your books afraid? I do. Yes. We have a fifteen thousand odd books in. One big hunk is not actually. They're just pulled up all over the floor bookcases back tobacco mill in the attic in every room. Pardon both rooms have bookcases in it. I've read that you one of these people who likes to learn something new every year, what? What are you learning this year? Well, actually I'm continuing with my Chinese. I started Chinese for term two years ago and last year it was drumming. I kind of dabble in things. It's a bit dilettante of me, but but I do like to kind of do things that stretch my mind. My imagination stretch my abilities. Speaking of your imagination, I would think being the sort of writer that you are, you've imagined your island that you to be castaway. Yes. What are you picturing a tropical island, why it sands blue skies blue sea and absolute peace and quiet. Okay. Let's listen to some of the museum that's gonna company you on this other Dillard's ending island. Tell me about your first choice this morning. What are we going to hear? Maller we're gonna hit. You. Uniting nations together by Ladysmith black Mambazo, Joseph, shabby LA. LA is the the leasing is such a brilliant songwriter and I just love the sentiment of this and I love the acapella sound and I love the message in this song as well too. More. Ladysmith black men Mizzou and Abbas's way uniting nations together. So Mallory Blackman you have. Well, I've got done here. You've published over sixty books now how many exactly I think it's about sixty sixty one now. Okay. I'm not that I still hunting off the fifty two on this smokers. Obviously that would take too long, but I think probably it would be fair to say that you are best known for the northern crosses series. It is for those who haven't really sort of disturbed pinned fantasy that has centered on discrimination and racism and very cleverly. It's all in reverse. It is the whites who are discriminated against in the western world and how much did you mind you to experience for the the heart of that book far more than any of my other books. Actually Callum, the white boy in it. Some of the things he goes for based on real experiences. I had like the first time I traveled. I cars on a train in the ticket inspector, accused me of stealing the ticket and and that was done of quite frail because looking at me and I was so embarrassed by thought this news gain have. Did you get this ticket from which you get this ticket form? Did you stand up to him. I did in that. I said, I bought it. I bought it, but it was. It was. It was one of those things where I was absolutely mortified and felt totally humiliated and knee and economy. I'm wiped off and things like sort of saints. My history teacher, how come you never talk about black scientists and inventors and achievers in history. And she said, because there aren't any and of, I didn't know enough at the time. This has been, I was sort of thirteen fourteen to comebacker how and sort of mentioned a few names talking about history. Let's talk from him about recent history. The third Buchen in that series called Checkmate's caused a very big stir when it was it was published in two thousand and five. It was just a, I think it was a week ahead of the London terror attacks a female character in your book is being groomed by her uncle to become a suicide bomber. You should extrordinary prescence there. What occurred to you at the time of the bombings, knowing that you had just published this book with with that in it? It's one of these shocking things. There's been. I was working in computing and I worked in the city. It was around the time of the IRA mainland bombing campaign, and I just remember how terrifying that was where you you kind of go to 'cause you had to, but it was one of those things where you saw is the day where I sort of catcher Bom. So of course, men this happened. They were calls from various 'em piece would never read the book of naturally that the book should be banned and obvious trying to cash in, etc. And I just saw cash in I wrote this, this is taking me two years to riot, but in terms of using you, imagine nation to create that scenario. Did you feel that you were in touch with something that was possible and likely to happen in Britain? Because so many people felt a sense of extreme shock that we could home grew our own suicide bombers, even put another time at happen? I think so. I mean with I did that with north and crosses because Callum does join what he calls freedom fighters. But what what sort of society at large coast terrorists and is very key to me to present both points of view in that book. And it is this idea of if you don't feel that you are part of society that you have a stake in society is very fertile ground for extremist to say, we'll come to our side. Let's do something about it more music than Mallory Blackman. Tell me about your second disc of the morning. What's this? Well, this is redemption song by Bob Marley, and I love Bob Marley. I love the way it's arranged. It's just him and his guitar. And the words I feel is so moving. Keila province. We stand aside and look. Some say it's just part fit. We've got food Bill to bull. Won't you hear this.