An interview with Piers Torday

The Last Wild cover and photo of Piers Torday

One of the highlights of our lockdown is listening to the wonderful Piers Torday reading The Last Wild on Instagram every afternoon. What a treat! If you haven’t been listening along (and haven’t already read the book), we would highly recommend getting hold of a copy – it’s a Parrot Street favourite!

In between readings, Piers kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us. Read on to find out what inspired The Last Wild and who keeps him company while he’s writing…

1. What inspired you to write The Last Wild?

I was inspired to write The Last Wild by the shocking discovery that Earth has lost over 60% of its wildlife in the last 40+ years. What will happen in the next 40 years? Will there be any animals left, and if not, what are we going to do about it? What are YOU going to do about it?

2. Do you have a favourite place to write?

Yes. I have written stories in the British Library, in cafes, on trains and in hotel rooms, but my favourite place is my study at home.

Piers Torday study

It has a view of the garden, and a cushion for our dog Huxley to lie on and keep me company while I stare into space. As well as lots of my favourite children’s books and lovely things readers and schools have given me, to inspire me on, including a rather burgeoning teddy bear collection!

3. Why did you choose to write books for children?

I didn't really - they sort of chose me. I wanted to write about climate change, and after re-reading Animal Farm by George Orwell, initially thought it might be a book for adults, but with animals rebelling against humans. However, once I had a talking pigeon and a wolf cub, my agent said, "It's definitely a children's book", and I haven't looked back since, because children are the most rewarding, engaged and honest readership a writer could hope for. You can write about anything for children if you find the right way in...

4. What was your favourite book as a child?

I had so many but a few of them were: The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann, Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien.

5. If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

I have always worked in the world of imagination, so I think probably something completely real, but that still took me to new worlds, like being an astronaut or an explorer.

If you'd like to listen to The Last Wild check out Piers' Instagram account and YouTube channel.


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