This week I’m celebrating, for the 15th year, the life and work of my friend and mentor Rudi Holzapfel.
Rudi died of cancer on 6 February 2005 and it seems the time has passed so quickly. He was a wonderful, caring and talented man. I first met him when we worked together in a bookshop – me because I was just starting my career, Rudi because he needed to work while preparing his PhD on the works of James Clarence Mangan.
At the time I had never met anyone who said they were a poet. I came to know him very well both at work and outside when we were able to escape the draconian clutches of the shop owners. I was fascinated by how and what he wrote and was fortunate to witness his work first hand when he wrote a poem ‘The Employee’ based on my work in the store. I still have the original written on a sheet of brown wrapping paper. It was published in the The Penguin Book of Irish Verse (1970) and has even been set to music – how and to what end escapes me.
He mentored me, critique my writing and pushed me to that goal. As I browse through my collection of his published works I’m saddened that such a great talent has gone for good. But he leaves behind a wealth of wonderful material. Books and audio readings by Rudi can be found at rudiholzpafel.com
Enjoying the BBC TV adaption of Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Corgi Edition 1991). Always a treat to re-read the book to see what’s been charged or missed out altogether, but with scripting by Neil Gaiman for the TV series these might be difficult to find. First published 30 years ago, it’s sold over 5 million copies – not counting a potential sales boost now it’s had a TV airing.
I recall the slightly bewildered reception the book got when I gave away some 20+ copies to encourage book reading on World Book Night back in 2012.
The Reading Agency has launched a Reading Well for Children booklist in response to data concerning children’s mental health in the UK. Launched on the first day of Children’s Mental Health Week 2020, it has been recognised by the Royal Society for Public Health and developed in partnership with Libraries Connected
In 2018, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health reported that schools were on average making 183 Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) referrals every school day, with 56% of those referrals coming from primary schools.
The 33 books on the list, which covers areas such as anxiety, bereavement and bullying, include titles by well known authors like Michael Rosen, Tom Percival, Zanib Mian and Joseph Coelho. The books have been selected to help Key Stage 2 children (aged 7-11) understand and talk about their mental health and well-being, encourage conversation about feelings between children and their parents or carers, and offer support outside of a clinical setting or whilst waiting for treatment.
To learn more check out The Reading Agency