Neil Gaiman on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Neil Gaiman‘We all – adults and children, writers and readers – have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.’ – Neil Gaiman, October 14, 2013 from the Reading Agency annual lecture

There are but a few contemporary fantasy authors as beloved and influential as Neil Gaiman. And fewer still can lay a claim to a literary output varied enough to include modern comics, children’s books and adult fiction. His other multimedia ventures have been similarly successful – although the author’s ad hoc, tongue-in-cheek collaborations with wife, musician Amanda Palmer (of the Dresden Dolls fame) are particularly dear to his fans. Known and recognized for such contemporary standouts as Coraline, American Gods, The Graveyard Book and, most recently, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Gaiman is a self-described ‘feral child who was raised in libraries’ and an ardent defender of freedom to read. Speaking recently at UK’s Reading Agency annual lecture on October 14, he gave an impassioned – and entertaining – speech on literacy, censorship and the future of libraries. For your reading pleasure, abridged version available courtesy of The Guardian.

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