See writers, warts and all, on the web

29th April 2005 at 01:00
Children's author Jacqueline Wilson describes hers as extraordinary.

Bestseller Philip Pullman says his is not just a story, while book-club favourite Dave Pelzer calls his an incredible story about the indomitable human spirit.

The trio are among 450 authors whose descriptions of their novels appear on Meet the Author, a website set up to enable pupils to see online interviews with bestselling writers. The site contains 600 half-minute video clips, in which authors summarise their work.

David Freeman, founder of the website, said: "I've always thought it would be wonderful to hear what the Bront s sounded like, or to speak to Charles Dickens.

"It takes away the fear of reading if you can see the author. You see that this person is not an alien, but someone you can empathise with."

Jacqueline Wilson, who appears on the site talking about three of her recent children's books, said: "We've moved on from looking at the author's photograph on the dust-jacket. This is something for modern times."Often, the author is just a vague name on the spine. It's fun to see what hairstyles they have, or if they have warts on their nose." Freeman would welcome suggestions from teachers:

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