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  Pullman 'thrilled by play of his books'
Updated 12 January 2004, 16.24
Philip Pullman
Top kid's author Philip Pullman said he is "thrilled" with the stage version of his award-winning His Dark Materials books.

The trilogy tells the epic tale of 12-year-olds Lyra and Will and their 'daemons' as they travel through parallel worlds - not an easy idea to turn into a play.

Clare Youell reports from the author's talk at the National Theatre.


Philip Pullman is the first person to admit what a difficult job it was to turn his books into a stage show.

Just a few of the tricky parts are how to portray armoured bears, a knife which cuts into a parallel universe and flying witches.

But he thinks it's a huge success.

"It's been done about as well as it can possibly have been done," Philip said. "I feel my books have fallen into the best possible hands.

"You have to make sure every bit is visible from the front of the audience to the back. That is very different to my novel.

"To read my books from start to finish takes about 35 hours - a lot of it had to go!"

There are some key characters who just had to be left out ( we won't spoil it for you!) and the story had to be shortened.

'Exciting time'

And the cast are older in real life than the characters, but Philip insists this works. "It's brilliant, it's perfect," he said.

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
Philip explained why he made his two main characters 12 years old. "It is that stage when you are changing as radically as you ever do," he said. "It is when you start discovering who you are."

Philip, who used to be a teacher, also said he'd like to see the production done as a school play. He said it would have to be adapted so it could fit on any stage, but he would love to see His Dark Materials done as "all sorts of things".

New books

On that note, he gave us an update on the movie plans. "There's a script - the plan is to make three films," he said. "But the next stage is to find a director. I hope it will be done."

He said the whole cast in the play had lived up to his expectations. "It's been thrilling to hear my words given a voice by these wonderful actors," he said. Good news!

The His Dark Materials books are very popular with kids and adults
But for those of you who are desperate for more books from the talented Mr Pullman, there's good news there too.

He should have a fairytale book out by the end of 2004, and there are plans for another book about some of the His Dark Materials characters, although it won't actually be part of the series.

Philip said it might be called The Book of Dust, and that there would be more religion in it, and that Lyra would be making some important self-discoveries.

Sounds great!

The play of His Dark Materials is on at the National Theatre in London until 27 March 2004.

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Amber Spy Glass What do you love about Philip Pullman's books?
opening quoteI like the way he writes. His stories keep me gripped. closing quote
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