• Jan Cornelius

    -Why do you write for children?

    -I am often asked why I write childrenls literature. The answer is the easiest possible: because I find great pleasure in it and because I believe they are the most sincere readers. One can very c’early notice this at the public readings for children. If a child doesnlt like a story, he wonlt sit still and he wonlt applaud either at the end of the reading. He shows his dissatisfaction on the spot; he yawns and is not interested. His face gives away the fact that hels bored.

     Maxim Gorki was once asked, “How does one write for children?” This is what he answered: “In the same way one writes for adults, only much better and much more thrilling”. Every person that has a certain experience in childrenls literature will confirm this for sure. 

     -What inspires you? What do you think of childhood?

     -When I write for children, of course I donlt write for them alone, I also write for the child living in me. “When we are no longer children, welve already died”, Brâncuși stated once, rightfully. And Nietzsche believed that “in every man therels a child wanting to play”.

     It is very sad that many grown-ups have forgotten how to be children; whoever gives up trying to discover the daily world as a child, whoever looses his desire to play and his childish fantasy, he has truly become a Zombie. 

    -What story you wrote you think of as the best and why?

     -I donlt write stories in the traditional way. In Germany as well as in the other countries in Eastern Europe, the traditional tale in the style of “Red Riding Hood” exists only as a “can”. This type of tales is long gone. I try to be in the childrenls skin and to tell a short funny story, from their perspective, with surprises from everyday life. If the text is good, than the children identify themselves with the characters, with the happenings in the story, are excited and the story goes on. Occasionally I also recount fairy-tales that are still valid today.  

    Out of the books that Ilve written, the greatest success for sure was “A cowboy named Balthasar.” It was published about 20 years ago and the children are still delighted by it today. The story is often being aired on the radio shows in Germany and abroad.

     -What can you tell us about childrenls literature in Germany? Which direction is it taking?

     - Childrenls literature from Germany today is full of life. There are plenty of authors and directions and thousands of translations from other languages. Childrenls literature is found not only under the format of books but also of CDs, DVDs, on the internet, on the radio and in television. In todayls world of the internet, many publishing houses seek to present their stories in a book format but also in other formats, using various modern media. The book and the modern media do not exclude each other; on the contrary, they support one another.

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