Fathers talk their sons out of reading books because they make them think it’s a ‘girly’ pastime, says author
- Joanne Harris says dads are to blame for boys not reading enough
- The writer said boys tend to be ‘put under a lot more pressure’ to play sports
- She told the Hay Festival that she had met men who were happy not to have read books by female writers.
Fathers are guilty of dissuading their sons from reading because they lead them to believe it is a “feminine” activity, claimed best-selling author Joanne Harris.
The former teacher, known for her 1999 novel Chocolat, said boys tend to be “put under a lot more pressure” to play sports, such as rugby.
She told the Hay Festival: “When I was teaching boys in particular, I found that boys not only didn’t read as much as girls, but they were under a lot more pressure from parents, a lot of dads, so they do something else like reading is girly. .’
The former teacher, known for her 1999 novel Chocolat, said boys tended to be “put under much more pressure” to play sports, such as rugby, than to read.
The implication was that boys “should play rugby and do healthy things for boys”, she said.
“It was a fight I had with parents over and over again, parents who said, ‘My boy is reading too much,'” the author, 57, added.
She blamed the book industry for these attitudes and revealed that she had met men who were “proud” of never having read books written by a woman.
She said: “There’s just a feeling within the industry that men write things that are for posterity and therefore important while women write for other women and are therefore slightly sub-human or sort of a minority group.
“If influential people in the business think that, it will trickle down to the readership.”
She said it will take time to “persuade” the industry that “women are also part of the human condition and their stories are equally important”.
Ms Harris added: ‘I don’t write specifically for anyone. I write for anyone with a pulse that wants to read the books and I like to be as inclusive as possible.
‘Yes, I’ve met a lot of men who not only didn’t read women’s books but were quite proud of them
“And if influential people in the book industry think that, then of course it will trickle down to readership.”
She said it will take time to “persuade” the book industry that “women are also part of the human condition and their stories are equally important”.
His comments come weeks after he told Times Radio that the English program “seems designed to dissuade people from reading as much as possible”.
She said, “The idea of reading fun seems to have been completely abandoned in favor of the need to know exactly what grammatical structures are called.”
Ms Harris’s novel Chocolate was made into a film in 2000, starring Dame Judi Dench and Johnny Depp.