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Writing Wisdom from Meg Rosoff: What’s in your colander? : 0% read

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Writing Wisdom from Meg Rosoff: What’s in your colander?

Last week I had the joy of opening The Eagle House Children’s Literary Festival. One of the wonderful things about What Milo Saw is that, although it’s an adult novel, it is also being read and enjoyed by children, so I have the privilege of being able to straddle two literary worlds. Meeting and listening to some of my favourite children and Young Adult authors has been the highlight of my autumn so far.

Meg Rosoff is a personal favourite (watch this space for an inspiring author interview). Her novel, How I Live Now, made a huge impact on me. It turns out that that Meg is as good a storyteller in person as she is on the page: her audience of 10, 11 and 12 year olds loved her. One of her gifts is her ability to tell sidesplittingly funny stories that touch on deep truths. She’s also great a using quirky anecdotes: one of them is her ‘colander story.’

Imagine you had a colander in your head rather than a skull…

She went on to explain how, 99% of the things that go through our mind are pretty mundane – and so we forget them, they go through the holes. But every now and then, something sticks. We notice something that no one else notices. That’s what goes to making our view of the world unique; that’s what gives us a unique voice. Her colander, she admitted, is ‘a bit twisted and dark,’ so that goes into her stories.

Meg advised us, both as human beings and as writers, to:

Go back to your colander…take a look and it will tell you what your life is about.

She explained how those bits that stick in the colander of our minds will tell us what we love, what matters to us, what we want to give our lives to – and, as writers, what we want to write about.

Meg also explained how the bits that stick, that trouble us and interest us and haunt us, are often responsible for the pivotal moments in our lives. If we look and listen and act on them, they steer us to where we are meant to be.


Today, take a look at your colander, think about the bits that stick, the things that you might be scared of, that you wish you could push through – as well as the bits that you love: your obsessions. Then think about how you can use these to inspire your writing and your life.

Q&A: Meg Rosoff