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Classics inspire British author Jasper Fforde

British author Jasper Fforde uses classic works as his inspiration to create detective novels, he said at a seminar yesterday in Ha Noi.

On the occassion of the fifth European Literature Days in Ha Noi, the British Council organised two seminars starring Fforde, during which he talked about mystery and detective fiction for young adults and children, and how contemporary society reflected short stories and novels.

Classics inspire British author Jasper Fforde
Classics inspire British author Jasper Fforde

The seminars were joined by critic Pham Xuan Thach, writer Di Li and Israeli writer Etgar Keret, as well as many readers.

His debut, The Eyre Affair (2001), which was listed in the best-sellers by the New York Times, was inspired by the classic Jane Eyre. In the Fforde’s story, Eyre is kidnapped and detective Thursday Next is given the mission to find her and the kidnapper.

Fforde said proudly that the novel had attracted many readers, especially students who studied Jane Eyre at school.

“My book makes the students curious about the characters and urges them to research the novel at school,” said Fforde.

“When I was young, I also studied Charlotte Bronte and William Shakespeare,” he said.

“I have to confess that sometimes I felt fed up with reading them because they’re dry and philosophical.”

Fforde said Vietnamese writers should base their works on the classics to inspire people’s interest in them.

Talking about child-ren’s books, the author praised the role of illustrations. He often uses at least five illustrations for each novel to help readers imagine the story and avoid being bored with pages filled with words.

Fforde is a Wodehouse prize winner for comic fiction, and an international bestselling author possessing a style which seems tailor-made for a passionate cult following.

Born in 1961, Fforde spent his early career in the film industry. He is the author of several novels which cross over genres, and are a mixture of fantasy, crime thriller, and humorous fiction. They are noted for their literary allusions, wordplay and tight plots.

Fforde started writing at the age of 27, but 13 years later, publishers asked him about children’s books.

“Writers should write for themselves first,” he said.

“Just do what you want, don’t weigh the pros and cons or think about the future of the stories, that’s the way you live with your emotion and creativity.”

In addition to these engagements, Fforde will also deliver a creative writing workshop for high school students in Ha Noi and HCM City.