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New Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman Attacks 'Snobs' Who Look Down On Vampire Series Twilight

14/08/2014 16:50 | Updated 22 May 2015

New children's laureate attacks 'snobs' who look down on vampire series Twilight

The new children's laureate has attacked 'snobs' who look down their noses at books such as the teenage vampire series Twilight.

Malorie Blackman criticised Education Secretary Michael Gove after he said he would prefer his daughter to read Middlemarch rather than Stephenie Meyer's Twilight.

Ms Blackman said: "I don't agree with Michael Gove. The point is that they are reading. My strategy is to say to a child 'if you love vampire stories then have you thought about Frankenstein?'

"You don't say that the only good books were written 50 years ago.

"It's like saying a book should be worthy - 'I deem this worthy and this is not worthy.'

"You mustn't be prescriptive because it closes down a lot of reading."

Ms Blackman, who has been named as the eighth children's laureate, taking over from Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson, pledged to spend her two-year tenure encouraging young people to read as widely as possible.

The author of Pig Heart Boy which was turned into a BAFTA-winning TV series, revealed that as a schoolgirl a teacher snatched a comic from her and tore it up in front of classmates because it was not deemed worthy of reading.

The experience inspired her to champion diverse genres of writing, including graphic novels, short stories and verse.

She said: "The teacher tore it up and said 'don't read that rubbish'. That was my hard-earned pocket money. It was a snobby attitude and I want to change that."

Ms Blackman is the first black Waterstones Children's Laureate. The former computer programmer and scriptwriter for Byker Grove is author of over 60 books for children.

She wrote the acclaimed Noughts & Crosses series which explores love, racism and violence in a fictional dystopia.

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