Tolkien, Fantasy And The BBC

Interviewed live on the BBC the other day. I was talking about the influence of Tolkien and the large and still growing impact of fantasy in literature and popular culture in a debate with Oxford University scholar Dr Stuart Lee and the author Robin Hobb. Stuart and Robin are both knowledgable people, as you’d expect, but also good fun to be around, and we got into some interesting areas.  The general consensus was that fantasy is no longer the red-headed stepchild of the literary world, and now has a degree of respectability. Which kind of irks me. I always liked the outsider status, and that sense of fantasy as a transgressive genre. I don’t want to be part of the club.

I’m an old hand at TV interviews, but it still gives me a thrill to walk into the iconic Broadcasting House in London’s West End.  Old media has a buzz about it, even now, and in that place you feel bound into the long tradition of the BBC and broadcasting in general. The green rooms are still a bit shabby and the studios oddly unreal out of the context of the box in the corner of the lounge.

And my editor will be pleased to know I remembered to ramble, briefly, about Pendragon (published on July 13), King Arthur and the connection between history and myth.

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