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Friday, April 17, 2015

Writing 'inclusively'


“I don't want my books to exclude anyone, but if they have to, then I would rather they excluded the people who feel they are too smart for them!” – Nick Hornby

Hornby, who is English, writes about ordinary people in ways that translate into best-sellers, like Fever Pitch, About a Boy and High Fidelity.    Fever Pitch, while written about a fan’s obsession (based on his own) with English soccer, was made an even bigger hit as an American movie adaptation, where it focused on Jimmy Fallon’s character’s obsession with the Boston Red Sox.
  
 
  Nick Hornby
That’s the universality of writing sports – one situation or type of sport can be easily adapted into another.    I used the technique myself with my Tweens’ book Kelli’s Choice.  There, I took what I knew from my baseball playing days - and stories told to me by both my grandfather and father about their days on the diamond - and adapted it to girls’ softball, something I obviously never played.  It becomes, of course, all about the people.

Music may play  (no pun intended) an even bigger role in Hornby's writing, once again based on his own experiences.  Hornby has had long and fruitful collaborations with the rock band Marah and even toured in the United States and Europe with the band, joining them on stage to read from his essays.   And, he's had great collaborations with singer/songwriter Ben Folds, known to many as chief judge on the hit TV show “The Sing Off.”   Songwriters like using the universality of the words that he writes.

Dedicated to helping kids with special needs, Hornby has donated all of his royalties from some of his books to helping kids with autism.   And in 2010, he co-founded Ministry of Stories, a nonprofit dedicated to helping children and young adults develop their writing skills, and to support teachers who inspire students to write.

Happy birthday today to one of writing’s – and music’s – really good guys, who has, indeed, produced many writer’s moments.


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