Morris Gleitzman on a Young Fiction series that makes him feel indignant…
Dear Anna Fienberg,
I could have written that. If you’d had the decency to hold off for a few years, I could have written Tashi. Sooner or later I’d have had the idea of a series of exquisitely-written stories about a boy in the suburbs called Jack with a secret friend. And the friend would probably have been called Tashi, and Tashi would probably have been from a faraway land with dragons and giants and magic, and he would probably have told Jack amazing stories about the quests and feuds and brave adventures that take place there on a daily basis. Almost certainly.
And I could have got Kim Gamble to do sublime pencil illustrations that light up the imagination more brightly than 99% of colour separations in the known world. And OK, I know your mother helps you with the stories, but if I’d asked her nicely I bet she’d have helped me too.
And when I’d written twelve Tashi books and captured the hearts of 99% of Australian children, I wouldn’t have lazed around toying with number thirteen. When I heard they weren’t widely distributed in Britain, I’d be on a plane and as we were coming in to land I’d be holding the Tashi books up to the window and yelling, ‘they’re unique and brilliant and they deserve to be published here’. I could have done all that, if only you’d waited.
Yours sincerely, Morris Gleitzman
The ‘Tashi’ series for 5-8 year-olds (Tashi and the Genie, Tashi and the Ghosts, Tashi and the Royal Tomb etc) by Anna and Barbara Fienberg, illustrated by Kim Gamble, is available in the UK, published by Allen & Unwin Children’s Books, with ten titles at £3.99 each pbk. Morris Gleitzman’s latest book, Girl Underground (0 14 131900 3, £4.99 pbk) is published by Puffin.