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  Q&A with 'best novel' winner Mark Haddon
Updated 07 January 2004, 16.44

Mark Haddon
Mark Haddon
Mark Haddon scooped the best novel gong at the prestigious Whitbread Book Awards.

His book, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, has become equally popular with kids and adults.

It's about a 15-year-old with a form of autism who turns detective.

We caught up with Mark just hours after his win.


How do you feel about winning the award?
It's the icing on a very big cake.

You've written loads of kids' books. Did you see this as a kids' book?
Like most writers, I wrote for myself and, as a 41-year-old, I saw it as an adult book. The fact there was a wider appeal was a happy stroke of luck.

Young people have always read books that were aimed at adults and vice versa, it is certainly not new but it is a great thing.

Tell us about your decision to choose a character with Asperger's Syndrome?
It is a very sensitive area and it's an area people feel they own if they are affected by it. People can understandably feel sensitive if others write about it.

People will say 'that's not like me' if they have Asperger's, or 'it's not like the ones I know with it', but that is missing the whole point that everyone is different.

You say you won't be writing another book about the character. Why not?
It would be like a second helping of chocolate, it would just make you feel sick!

What's your fave children's book?
Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Graham, having re-discovered it to read to my three-year-old.

I would love to have more time to read fiction but I'm a dad-of-two which doesn't leave me a lot of time. Perhaps in 14 years or so I will!

More InfoBORDER=0
UKCBBC Newsround chats to Hilary McKay
Find OutOur guide to book awards
ChatChat about your fave reads!
ClubI'm a judge for the Whitbread Awards

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Past StoriesBORDER=0
Kids' novel scoops top book award
New Children's Laureate: 'I hate SATs'
Autistic boy gets book published
Hilary McKay wins top kids' books prize
Terry Pratchett: 'Proud of kid's book award'

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