Steve Tasane

What books did you read when you were a child?
I read dusty old books that seemed like historical items, an endless amount of library books, and shiny fresh-smelling books from bookshops, from Winnie-the-Pooh to horror books.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I always desperately wanted to be Sherlock Holmes – and dress like him too.

What is the best thing about reading?
You find yourself in a different universe to this one. Even in a cinema you are aware of the people around you, but you really do lose yourself in a book.

What is your all time favourite book?
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children’s communication skills?
Make plays. Plays that we watch, and play that involves dressing up or role-playing are one and the same.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
My dad was not present, or ever bought me a book, but my mum made sure our house was full of every type of book – from old treasuries to comics to Charles Dickens to Enid Blyton – and she bought me my first ever typewriter!

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
Reading to each other and acting out the voices. I recommend the Pooh Books, Philip Pullman, Pippi Longstocking, and the Moomins!

Steve’s latest novel, Child I, is published by Faber on May 3rd. It is about unaccompanied children in a refugee camp. He has published two young adult novels, Blood Donors (included on the Seven Stories Diverse Voices list of best books celebrating cultural diversity) and Nobody Saw No One (a modern take on Oliver Twist) with Walker. He is also a performance poet and been poet-in-residence at Battersea Dogs Home, Museum of Childhood and Dickens Bicentennial Celebrations.

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