educating for delight and responsibility

BBC Radio 4 has on its website for the next few days a charming and inspiring little (about half an hour) conversation between author Philip Pullman and Enid Jones who was his secondary school teacher in Wales almost 50 years ago. Pullman is the author of many books, including the intricately imaginative trilogy His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass -- called The Northern Lights in some editions -- The Subtle Knife, and the Amber Spyglass). His Dark Materials is often what comes to my mind when I'm asked what is my favorite book (even though it is three books!). My family was lucky to discover the set only after the third one was published, so that we didn' t have to wait for years between books like earlier fans did. Now the books are being made into a film (you can read more about that in Pullman's own words here)

Pullman has stayed in touch with Miss Jones over the years, and in their conversation they touch on what the radio show host describes as "trying to trace the impossible -- the sources of his inspiration" -- education as a practice of "delight and responsibility," Pullman's own early teaching career as "a wonderful apprenticeship in storytelling," writing as "a process of discovery" and that if you have a plan and an outline (as writing instructors in our schools these days tend to insist) "in advance you won't discover anything."

But it looks like the shows only stay available till the next week's show gets posted, so best to go hear it now! (it's on the right, under "Listen Again" for Thursday)