Jeremy Williams grew up in Madagascar where he lived with his parents, two brothers, two sisters, a dog, three pigeons, sixteen chickens, four ducks, four tortoises, two cats that liked him and one that did not.
There was no TV or computer games, so he read every children’s book in the house, then Dad’s history books and Mum’s classic novels. Then he started on the encyclopedia. He read as far as G before somebody sent some new books.
Unsurprisingly, Jeremy has only ever wanted to be a writer. Today he writes serious books for adults and less serious books for children. He lives in Luton with his wife and two children, and he still doesn’t have quite enough books.
- Where is Madagascar?
Madagascar is a big island off the East coast of Africa. Is a beautiful country and you should go and visit it one day. Yes, there are lemurs there. There weren’t any where I lived because I lived in the city, but my friend Jamie lived by the sea and he had a pet lemur. You’re not really supposed to keep lemurs as pets, but this one just moved in.
- Why didn’t your cat like you?
I don’t know. Cats are just like that sometimes. It made me a bit sad, because I like cats. For some reason, this one was just mean. It was only mean to me and not to my sisters. They got all the love, and they didn’t believe me when I told them about it.
- Did you really read the encyclopedia?
I did. I know all sorts of things about subjects that start with the letters A-G, and then nothing after that. Mind you, the encyclopedia was a very old one from the 1930s. I remember it included an entry called ‘Everest – the unconquered peak’, which wasn’t true by the time I read it. So I’m not sure everything I learned was useful.
- Is there such a thing as ‘enough books’?
Basically, no. But there is such as thing as enough bookshelves, and I have filled my house with books. Books are heavy, and the floors might cave in if I put any more up. I have become better at giving them away, and I have a Little Free Library where I pass on books that I’ve read.
- What are your adult books about?
As well as being a children’s author, I am a writer and campaigner on environmental issues and social justice. I want the world to be a greener and fairer place, so my books are about how to do that – hang on, I’ll just stick the front covers below. There. I also write an award winning website all about making the world a better place. It’s called The Earthbound Report.