Last week, I went to see the magnificent, inspiring, funny, genius writer Ali Smith talk at the Hampstead Arts Festival. Her words are pure gold. I especially loved the way she talked about a book being alive because it is an organic object:
Books are spines and they are skins and they are tree, and when we open them up they are wings.
This poetic image hovered in sharp contrast to her description of the ‘flatness’ of reading on screen. She compared books to animals again later, telling us that an author must respect the life and the wildness of their work, and quoting John Berger:
You cannot look at a wild animal, a wild animal has to look at you.
Pure gold, I tell you!
She also talked persuasively about the perilous state of our libraries – the subject of her new book, a collection of short stories entitled Public Library. I wrote this up for Intelligent Life magazine here: Ali Smith’s Call to Arms