Philip Ardagh interviewed for the Guardian by members of the Imagine children’s festival “ideas cloud”:
Literature did wonders for my early vocabulary By the age of five, I was writing couplets that featured the word “alas”. I suppose I had a way of speaking that was not always suitable for my age. It made me stand out at school – and not in a good way.
School can be hell I was bullied from the age of seven, and I had to share a classroom with the main bully, my nemesis, for the next nine years. I was made fun of, stabbed with pencils in the back. It was all pretty unpleasant, and made me very anxious, very scared. I didn’t talk about it to anyone, I didn’t ask for help; I just thought that this was what life was. I coped by reading; books were a window to another world.