Readersforum's Blog

July 28, 2011

Man Booker Prize 2011: Twitter ‘stopping children reading’, says judge Dame Stella Rimington

Filed under: Media — Tags: , , , , , , — Bookblurb @ 5:15 am

Children spend so much time on Twitter and mobile phones that they are losing their love of novels and reading less, the chair of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction has warned.

By Tim Ross

Dame Stella Rimington Photo: EPA/ANGEL DIAZ

Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, said she was concerned that pupils were missing out on the pleasure of books as electronic communications increasingly dominate their lives.

The judges yesterday announced this year’s longlist of 13 novels, including one of the shortest books ever selected for the 42-year-old award, four first-time novelists and one previous winner.

Dame Stella said that while she was confident a market for fiction would still exist in 100 years, she feared many children were not growing up to be book lovers. “I think much of the Twittering and emailing and texting and all that sort of stuff that children go in for now may be taking their eyes off reading fiction. When I was young we read more than the average child reads now.”

Teachers needed to find ways to instil a love of fiction in children, she said, although electronic “reader” devices that can store hundreds of books and newspapers, such as the Amazon Kindle, “could help turn the tide”.

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