Roland: The King’s English is not a story of the world that we experience, as we know it but rather of the world of the dead. As a child I was fascinated by how magic works in fiction, so I set out to explore it while writing my first collection, ‘The King’s English’. I loved the idea of writing a collection that combined the world of the living and the dead. I wanted it to feel as if a child was inside it, and be a true child, a real-life boy’s fantasy.
Were you trying to tell a fairy tale?
Roland: I was definitely intending for it to be a different type of book. I wanted it to be a real story, which is why I wrote this book with words. I wanted it to be an unashamed book, if you like, where children do the narrating instead of looking after the story themselves.
But where did the idea of magic come from?
Roland: While I was working on this book, it hit me like lightning, so the rest of the story is my attempt to answer this question. I was fascinated with the idea that the king’s English is not a world we experience as we know it, but rather the world of the dead.
How does it feel seeing these books at the Museum?
Roland: To have my work be part of such an international story is incredible. It’s not easy to tell this story in our museum where I love to spend so much time. Seeing books that are translated in so many languages has been quite special.
What was life like as a children’s author?
Roland: As an editor I found myself having to work with very few resources. There wasn’t a large library of children’s literature to be picked up and read. Books were expensive for publishers so it was a lonely struggle to see some of these books published. It’s important this is one of those rare books that doesn’t sell poorly.
In the book ‘The King’s English’, an illustration is used that shows a man named Balthazar’s magic coming from a book he’s currently reading. Would you like to see Balthazar in a children’s book?
Roland: For me, there is no doubt that I wrote this story. Some people might find the story difficult to understand, and their own ideas about the King’s English and magic must be a complicated mix of ideas and emotions. I wrote
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