Mary's musings

Mary Hoffman, author of over 90 children's books, including the Stravaganza series and Amazing Grace, has begun a web journal which will be updated roughly once a week. You can read more on

Monday, January 08, 2007

The martyr and the knight

New Year' Day brought the sickening picture of Saddam, hanged, on the front page of the Guardian. Apparently they received only 200 letters of complaint, including mine. But the readers' editor today said that a majority of Guardian journalists thought it was the wrong decision. And John Scarlett got a knighthood! This is sheer farce. The fact that Tony Blair refuses to comment on the execution, though he is happy to talk about the complete non-story of an ex-Secretary for Education sending her dyslexic child to a private school, is almont irrelevant, as he is. But knighting John Scarlett is just putting two fingers up to the public.

I seem to have committed myself to a lot of festivals, meetings and events this year. It will be probably be a repeat of 2005, when I said yes to almost everything, ran round ther coutry a lot, got exhausted and probably didn't sell many extra copies of my books. But with The Falconer's Lnot out in April, Princess Grace out in the autumn and Kings and Queens of the Bible somewhere along the way, I have to make myself available.

I finished reading, at last, the ghastly Una Donna by Sibilla Aleramo. It has taken ages because it is turgidly written, short of characters, dialogue and incidents, and lacking in any grace or wit. It was published in 1906 and I think our teacher thought we should read it but I'm thinking of leading a revolution in the tea-break tomorrow to see if we could be let off discussing it for weeks on end. No-one else I've spoken to thought it worthwhile either. And I have a pile of more interesting books - The Penelopiad, Suite Francaise, Screenwriting Updated - which I would rather have been reading.

I heard the CD of Spamalot, which Jess gave me at Christmas and it is very fine. We saw the DVD, not of Casablanca, which she also gave me, but the accompagnying one of extras, including a charming documentary on the Bogart/Bacall marriage. He did the right thing at the time of the McCarthy witch-hunts and spoke out against them. Good man. I also saw the final double bill of Torchwood, which was fantastic till the last, bonkers, quarter of an hour. And the first episode of the new sedries of ER, which put its fans through the wringer.


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