10 questions with David Walliams

What do David Walliams and our National Young Writers' Awards have in common?

They are both celebrating 10 year anniversaries! David has been an influential children's author for 10 years and is the judge of our tenth free writing competition - read our Q&A with David here...

Why are you pleased to be a judge for the National Young Writers’ Awards?

There is nothing better as a writer to encourage the next generation of writers.

What tips would you give to our young writers?

I have ten top tips:

  1. Don’t be afraid to start, just dive in.

  2. Be original. You can be influenced by authors you like, but don’t copy them!

  3. Write the story you want to read.

  4. Don’t forget sometimes a good idea is two ideas bashing against each other, e.g. Gangsta Granny

  5. When you have finished read your story aloud to someone, you should know immediately if there is something you can cut or something that doesn’t make sense.

  6. Remember a story can be like life, it can be funny and sad all at the same time.

  7. A twist at the end always makes a short story memorable.

  8. Don’t use a hundred words to describe something when one will do.

  9. Think of a title that is going to really grab the reader from the start.

  10. Remember, the only limit is your imagination.

We are asking children to write stories about a hero, who was your hero when you were a child and why?

I loved fictional heroes when I was a child, James Bond and Sherlock Holmes especially. I really wanted to be a spy or detective.

Who is your hero now and why?

Richard Curtis and JK Rowling. They are two of the greatest writers in their respective fields ever. Not content with that they both spend a huge amount of their time and energy helping others, and have made a real difference. Plus I know them both and they are fantastic company.

What advice would you give to children about pursuing their dream job?

You have to remember that sadly no one is going to wave a magic wand for you and make your dreams come true. It all has to come from you.

You have written so many books, how do you get your inspiration for your stories?

Mainly from my imagination. Writing is like dreaming really. You just need to find a way to go deep into your mind to find the stories.

Do you find it harder ‘write’ funny than to ‘act’ funny?

Writing funny is harder because you don’t have all the tools you use to deliver a joke, such as tone of voice or facial expression.

What was your favourite children’s book growing up?

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is so imaginative, it surprises me every time I re-read it.

What stories do you love to read now?

I love returning to ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’. For me, this is the first important piece of children’s literature, and influenced everyone from CS Lewis to JK Rowling.

What were you like at school? Did you have a favourite subject?

I love English and history. I liked reading and writing stories in English and learning all about the dark and dangerous characters who shaped the world in history.

Our National Young Writers' Awards competition has now finished. Stay up to date on all of our future competitions by following the Explore Learning Blog. And why not see if we can help inspire their passion for writing? Our expert English tutors are here to help.

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