Jacqueline Wilson compares cancel culture to 'walking a tightrope'

Jacqueline Wilson compares cancel culture to ‘walking a tightrope’ as she defends her woke rewrite of Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree

  • Dame Wilson, 76, said: ‘It’s quite scary for people who don’t want to offend at all’
  • Tracy Beaker author is glad to be absent from social media and ‘cancel culture’  
  • On JK Rowling, accused of transphobia on social media, Wilson said: ‘I feel sad for her because she made such a difference to children’s books and reading’  

Jacqueline Wilson has compared ‘scary’ cancel culture to ‘walking a tightrope’ while defending her modern rewrite of Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree. 

The Tracy Beaker author, 76, said that writing in today’s culture is ‘slightly like walking a tightrope because anybody can say something in the most innocent way… and then down in print it can have very different meanings’.  

She added that she is glad to be absent from social media because it makes her worry less about being ‘cancelled’ by the masses.  

And on the topic of JK Rowling, who has been denounced by swathes of social media users accusing her of transphobia, Wilson said: ‘I feel sad for her because she made such a difference to children’s books and reading’. 

The Tracy Beaker author, 76, said: ‘It’s quite scary, particularly for older people who don’t want to offend anybody at all, how easy it can be [to offend]’

And on the topic of JK Rowling, who has been denounced by swathes of social media users accusing her of transphobia, Wilson said: ‘I feel sad for her because she made such a difference to children’s books and reading’

Rowling has been accused of transphobia since posting a series of tweets in 2020 in which she states that ‘erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives’.  

Dame Wilson’s comments come as The Free Speech union blasted one of her latest novels, a reimagining of the classic The Magic Faraway Tree, saying that ‘classic works of children’s literature should not be rewritten to make them more politically correct’. 

But the author, thought to be worth £40million, told The Telegraph: ‘It isn’t. I found that mildly irritating because nobody had read it. It’s simply that the children in the book are modern.’ 

She even added that she believes it’s important to show children how values were different in the past. 

The former children’s laureate added: ‘There are things that can be objected to nowadays that would not have even been thought about in the past.’ 

Wilson, who has sold more than 40million books in the UK which have been translated into at least 34 different languages, is now about to publish her 114th book.  


Dame Wilson’s comments come as The Free Speech union blasted one of her latest novels, a reimagining of the classic The Magic Faraway Tree, saying that ‘classic works of children’s literature should not be rewritten to make them more politically correct’

Enid Blyton Holding A Puppet Of Her Invention ‘noddy’

Baby Love is a story about a teenage girl falling pregnant in the 1960s and being sent to a mother-and-baby home to preserve her family’s honour. 

And while the topic may seem rather harrowing, Wilson says: ‘Children aren’t innocent little things’.  

Dame Wilson has covered divorce, homelessness, mental illness and same-sex love in her novels.                

Last year’s rewrite of Enid Blyton’s novel will not be the first time Mrs Wilson has change other classic authors’ works.

She has written modern interpretations of classics such as Five Children and It and The Railway Children.

What has Jacqueline Wilson changed in her version of Enid Blyton’s classic?

Jacqueline Wilson’s new version of the adventure book will see a number of changes to make it appear more modern. The Tracy Beaker author will strip out what is today deemed sexism and replace references with lessons for youngsters.

Children reading her novel will now be subject to a gender equality lecture instead of learning how people behaved and thought in the past. Mrs Wilson’s book has not been released, but she has admitted to some changes compared to the 1943 original…

Blyton’s book:

One of the characters Moon-Face asks Silky to help him with domestic tasks. He says during this time the boys are allowed to do something more entertaining.

Wilson’s woke update:

But in the new novel he will be immediately reprimanded and given a lesson on gender equality. Mia also says in the modern world girls are as clever as boys and sometimes cleverer.

Blyton’s book:

The children are free to adventure for days and nights without heading home to their parents, as also shown in the Famous Five and Secret Seven.

Wilson’s woke update:

But the updated copy will be changed to reflect today’s ‘anxious’ parents and their close watch over their youngsters.

Mrs Wilson played with the passing of time to get around this, showing the parents drinking coffee in the morning when their children leave, and still at it when they get back. 

Editorial Director at Enid Blyton Entertainment Alexander Antscherl said: ‘The Magic Faraway Tree: A New Adventure revisits the original magical world inhabited by Moonface and Silky, while introducing three new children and some fabulous new lands, all guaranteed to appeal to Jacqueline Wilson and Enid Blyton fans the world over.

‘Milo, Mia and Birdy are on a countryside holiday when they are astonished to discover an Enchanted Wood. Exploring there they meet remarkable creatures, including a man with a head like the moon and a fairy with long, silky hair, who live in the tallest tree in the wood.

‘Little Birdy is thrilled to find that fairies are real. Even her older brother and sister are soon won over by the magic of the Faraway Tree and the extraordinary places they discover above it, including the Land of Unicorns and the Land of Dragons.’

‘The Magic Faraway Tree stories are full of wish fulfilment, wonder and delight and have been entertaining children for generations.

‘I knew that Jacqueline Wilson was a huge fan of these books in her early childhood, and with the 80th anniversary of the series coming in 2023 I realised this would be the ideal way to celebrate it.

‘Jacqueline’s outstanding ability to capture authentic, relatable characters, in a story that has all the excitement, fun and charm of the original books, allows readers to revel in the magic of the Faraway Tree, whether or not they are already fans of Blyton’s stories.’

Activists have targeted classic literature in recent years over outdated views on race and gender.

Last year the Oxford University Press was panned after it urged parents to read their children ‘woke’ modern books instead of older ones.

The Enid Blyton Society was among those to hit out at the publisher for ‘narrowing’ children’s reading.

The group warned new novels should be read alongside classics rather than replace them so youngsters learn about history, sociology and language.

It said the old literature keeps their ‘minds and emotions fully engaged’ and helps them understand ‘how the past shaped the present’.

Oxford University Press told parents they should ‘be more adventurous’ and pick up books on topics such as diversity and homelessness.

The major publisher told them to ‘broaden the types of books’ they pick at story time ‘to prompt questions and build greater understanding of global issues’.

It followed new OUP research that found two thirds – 63 per cent – of UK parents prefer to read their children books they enjoyed in their own childhood.

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