Wednesday, 2 November 2016


I’m always surprised when a friend complains that the movie they’ve seen doesn’t follow the book.  

A book is one thing – it can run to 600 or more pages and a film is another – where the script is written to a strict 120 page double-spaced format.  How can it be like the book? It involves music, lighting, colour, visual expression and gesture plus scenery.  It plays with all our senses with the exception of smell.

The book has none of these advantages. Every time we read a book, we are our own filmmakers creating images. We are the cameraman, the director, the scriptwriter, the actor all rolled into one, spinning out the story as we ‘see’ it. How often haven’t you read a book where you actually see it as a film. This happened to me with All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doeer. Odd that a story about a blind girl should be seen so visually – the old man recording stories for children up his attic and the dripping sea caverns beneath the walls of St Malo with the sea snails.

The book and the film aren’t in competition. They are just different forms of story.

On Saturday 12th November one of my books will be in another form of story – music. For the second time the 65 piece Worcestshire Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Keith Slade will be putting on two concerts of THE MAGIC BOJABI TREE with music specially composed by Peter Davis.

When I heard it played at the first concert, it was like a thing apart. Here was someone reading my text in a deep sonorous voice with Piet Grobler’s illustrations passing above the heads of the musicians in the beautiful apse of St Martin’s Church with this huge swell of music, the voices of the animals – the bassoon, the violins, the tuba and the timpani all speaking. This was no longer my story. The music had given it another power.  I watched the faces of the children in the audience responding not to the text, but to the magic of the orchestra and what the musicians were creating.

How wonderful for any writer to have a story recreated and given another dimension whether in film or music. And I have to rely on the original ABBA group to say to Keith Slade and Peter Davis and all the members of the Worcestshire Symphony Orchestra – Thank you for the music… for giving it to me!

Anyone in the Worcester area, please join us on Sat 12th November at St Martin's Church, London Rd, Worcester WR5 2ED. The Around the World with the WSO concert will take place at 2pm and again at 4pm. Tickets on sale at the door. You’ll hear elephant, zebra, monkey and lion talk in tongues of wonderful music and even a tortoise song to end it off.
Imogen, a pupil of Northwick Manor Primary, winner of the poster competition for the concert, with conductor, Keith Slade.

One more commercial... don't forget this Saturday 5th, the IBBY Conference at Roehampton University celebrates Marvellous Imaginations: extending thinking through picture books. Click here to view the full programme or here to book a place. Piet Grobler will appear on a panel with Laura Carlin and another of my illustrator friends, Carol Thompson.
ZERAFFA GIRAFFA illustrated by Jane Ray, published by Frances Lincoln.
THE MAGIC BOJABI TREE illustrated by Piet Grobler, published by Francs Lincoln


Enid Richemont said...

For the last two months or so, I've had the immense good fortune and privilege to be involved as screenwriter in the filming of one of my children's books (I can't tell you which one because at present it's all under wraps). And yes, it's a totally different way of thinking, and I'm sure the final result will be different yet again. There is so much more to stories.

Penny Dolan said...

What an absolutely wonderful experience for you, Dianne!

Dianne Hofmeyr said...

Thanks Penny and Enid and how wonderful to be your own sceenwriter. Congrats on this! Looking out for it once its unwrapped!