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Jacqueline Wilson: Quarantine will be good for creativity

The author said is it unlikely she will write a novel based on the coronavirus pandemic.

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Jacqueline Wilson (Ian West/PA)

Jacqueline Wilson (Ian West/PA)

Jacqueline Wilson (Ian West/PA)

Jacqueline Wilson has said she thinks life in isolation will be good for creativity in writers, but she will not be taking inspiration from the coronavirus crisis to write a novel.

The children’s author and former children’s laureate, known for books such as The Suitcase Kid and The Story of Tracy Beaker, added that some things are too awful for young people to contemplate in their fiction.

She told the PA news agency: “Certainly I think a lot of people will write and I think that’s a good thing – even if you just keep a private diary to express yourself, rather than sort of erupt at irritation with your partner, if you could write it all down it might help.

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Jacqueline Wilson (Victoria Jones/PA)

Jacqueline Wilson (Victoria Jones/PA)

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Jacqueline Wilson (Victoria Jones/PA)

“If you use King Lear as an example (Shakespeare is often cited as having written the play in quarantine during the plague), it’s a wonderful play, but it is about people becoming deranged. It’s a bit worrying.

“We could all do one week, I think we could all do one month, but more than that and it does get a bit bleak. Even on the nicest holiday, I think a lot of it, by the end of the second week (you want to get back to normal life).”

Asked if she will be taking inspiration from the current situation, she said: “I’ve thought about it, but somehow I think there will be so many writers writing about it.

“It’s very interesting but somehow when I write, I prefer not to be writing about anything vaguely to do with my own life at the moment. So probably not.

“Although I have learnt that I can never tell… we might ring off and then suddenly, a way of doing it that would be different will occur to me, and I will think about it.

“But at the moment, I’ve got the book Love Frankie, which will be out now in August, and I’ve already finished the book that comes after that and started on yet a new one.

“So it would mean casting a lot of those aside because the whole point of writing about this coronavirus crisis is, you’ve got to be current.

“Sometimes I think, particularly if you’re writing for children, and you want some drama in it, it’s too close to home if you write about maybe your granddad dying or something.

“It’s just too awful for children to contemplate – or mummy and daddy splitting up afterwards.”

The release of a film adaptation of Wilson’s book Four Kids And It, inspired by E. Nesbit’s Five Children And It, has been moved forward so families can watch it while they are staying at home.

The author said: “I do think if you can have the tiniest, faintest silver lining, when the country is really in terror and people are horrified about how they’re going to survive after all this – the economy has taken such a nosedive – it is a couple of hours of escape and fantasy.

“And although I fully understand parents just going and having a silent lie-down or whatever if the kids are watching the film, it is a family film.

“I’ve been to a couple of showings of it, with a specially invited mixed audience, and the adults seem to laugh and enjoy the joke as much as the children. It’s what I look for, family viewing, I think.

“Because with television, and although I’ve got so much to be grateful to CBBC for because they’ve done me so proud with adaptations of my books, that is more now in the children’s ghetto channel rather than on mainstream television.

“So it’s lovely to have a film that’s aimed at everybody.”

Four Kids And It is exclusively available on Sky Cinema.

PA