Philip Ardagh has penned over sixty books – from the best-selling Eddie Dickens series, to the Grubtown Tales which even has its own website. Lately he has teamed up with the illustration giant Axel Scheffler to produce the hilarious Grunts in Trouble.
Tell us about you in 25 words or less.
I am tall, bearded and can’t help writing funny.
What makes you happy?
Good books. Cuddly toys. Smiling faces.
Where have you always wanted to visit, but haven’t made it to… yet?
I’d like to visit India, was invited there this year but couldn’t go. My mother was born there. (And I love curries.)
Where is your favourite place to write?
I love writing in my study, though I have an office too. My office is full of files, reference material and foreign editions of my books. My study is full of favourite ornaments, pocket watches, paperweights and special pens. It overlooks a wood across the lane.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be.
Remove suffering. What could be better than wiping out hunger, poverty and war, huh?
Failing that, I’d create more legroom on public transport. (I’m 6ft 7in tall.)
What’s the best thing about being a published author?
Not endlessly trying to get published! Having the freedom to write all day, most days. And building up a relationship with my readers. I get some very funny letters.
What’s the strangest question you’ve ever been asked?
At the Edinburgh International Book Festival in Scotland, a boy once asked, “What time do you have your first drink of the day?” I’m not sure whether he thought I was drunk — I wasn’t — or whether I needed a drink — I didn’t– so it was rather unexpected. I don’t remember my response, but suspect it included mention of an early morning cup of coffee. Rumours that I had the boy removed from the audience in a large hessian (burlap) sack are unconfirmed.
Who or what inspires you?
Looking at my own, beautiful, reflection in a mirror, or any shiny surface, come to that.
What is your worst habit?
Looking at my own, beautiful, reflection in a mirror or any — er — shiny surface…
What is your favourite word?
I love the word aubergine. It looks beautiful on the page and sounds beautiful when spoken. Imagine waiting at a bus stop and someone sidling up beside you and whispering the word “Aubergine” in your ear. (Some people call an aubergine an egg plant, but I’m not interested in what it actually is or actually tastes like, just the word itself.)
Favourite combinations of words include, “Here, Mr. Ardagh, have this bag of gold.”
We love your jokes on Twitter, hit us with your best one here.
Jokes? JOKES? You think they’re supposed to be FUNNY?!? I do offer advice and make observations though. A recent one was: “Time may be a great healer, but try dressing a wound with an alarm clock…”
Did we forget anything?
That you’re standing on my beard.
Just for Fun
Tea or coffee? Coffee. Big time.
Paper or e-books? Paper. Paper. Paper. (PS. Paper.)
Vegemite or Marmite? Marmite. (I hope you can forgive me.)
Poetry or prose? Prose (but I do love poetry)
Beach or bush? Bush, but without the dangerous creatures* (*though I’m sure their mothers love them.)
Write or type? Type. I collect pens but my handwriting is on the very side of bad.
Hot or cold? Hot (though sweaty). My beard freezes at low temperatures* (*FACT)