I feel the need to return to Garth Nix, seeing as I left him almost totally high and dry a few weeks ago. Which was a shame as his was such a great event on the opening morning of the EIBF.
I used to see his books around Offspring’s school library, but never got round to reading any. And then I have a niggling suspicion someone made some less complimentary comment about the books, and that was that.
His talk was based on lies. It was also based on four questions he’d like to ask himself. The first one was whether Garth Nix is his real name. It is. He is very satisfied with it, as the middle of the alphabet is good. Means his name will be at eye height on some imaginary list of authors’ names. He has looked up the meaning of Garth and Nix. Basically he is a walled garden, a merman or a watersprite, half human/half fish (?) and he’s malevolent.
Right. (I just took notes. Nothing to do with me.)
Those same notes say ‘small muscles, large head’. Was he describing himself? He writes by hand in black and red notebooks. A new one for each novel. He tends to have several books on the go at any one time, leapfrogging between them. Garth doesn’t believe in magic, but he does believe in the supernatural. He’s not a fan of zombies, however.
Like Tim Bowler, Garth wrote his first book really early. Tim’s book was awfully short, and I have to say that Garth’s was even shorter. He read it to us and that didn’t take long. Having reached the conclusion he didn’t want to become a soldier after years of thinking he did, he came to the UK at the age of 19 and travelled round the country in an Austin 1600 with a gold flame stripe, whatever that is. He read a lot, and learned that the difference between professional writers and amateurs is that the professionals finish things.
His first professionally finished book was Freddie the Fish, a book for very clever babies. By now Garth has written quite a lot of books, and to prove it he had personally stuck together all the cover images from his books into one long strip of… yes, of what? A strip, let’s say. He showed it to us. Not all covers were the right way up, but he was jetlagged.
The supernatural. Hmm. Garth told us the story of the one time he found it could happen. In great detail. It was nine years ago, to the day, and he had been given a lucky ring. He gave away this lucky ring to a young boy in the front row. That’s when I smelled a rat, and Garth admitted almost immediately that he’d made it all up.
Then it was back to the Austin 1600 with the gold flame stripe. Garth had toured the Scottish Highlands in this car. He had discovered a wonderful author and had read all the books by this man. Then by pure chance he discovered the author lived in the village he was visiting, and he went to see this very old man. The man gave Garth his fountain pen when he left. He was saddened to learn shortly afterwards that the author had died.
Garth had made it all up. Again.
There never was an old Pole by the name Irskine Henry. (He even claimed to have looked Irskine up on Wikipedia.) But if we make him real here, maybe one day Irskine (Garth’s spelling; not mine) will be googlable.
Garth thinks he may lie a space adventure next. Pardon me; write.