“Writing for children is magical” | Andri Antoniou, Aarhus 39

“Writing for children is magical” | Andri Antoniou, Aarhus 39

Andri Antoniou is an acclaimed Cypriot writer, part of our Aarhus 39 selection of the best emerging writers from across Europe. Andri will be appearing at the inaugural International Children’s Literature Hay Festival Aarhus 2017 later this month. Here she talks about her new story for Quest, our new anthology of 17 stories for children, inspired by journeys. 

Tell us about your story…
I wrote a funny story about the consequences of procrastination while packing your luggage for a journey. I am a procrastinator myself and I keep having nightmares every time I am about to go on a trip. That I won’t make it on time! Also, I wanted to write a funny story because I love to make children laugh!

When did you decide to become an author?
When I was six years old and I learned to read and write. I bought a blue notebook and begun to write fairytails, explaining everyone that one day I would become an author. I think no one believed me!

When did you publish your first book?
In 2012 when I was 32 years old. It’s a funny middle-grade novel called “Trouble-magnet” about a ten year old girl who always find herself into huge trouble.

What is special about writing for children?
I think it’s magical, not just special, writing for children. As a child I was always reading a book and books became my company when I felt a bit lonely. They helped me deal with all that mess that goes on in your mind when you’re a child or a teenager. I want to do exactly the same for children now that I have the opportunity. Give them some company if they feel lonely. Also talk about important issues and make them realize that other people go through tricky situations as well and it’s not the end of the world.

What does it mean to you to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival?
I am over the moon that I was chosen to be a part of the anthology and the Hay Festival! It’s a great honor and privilege to be one of Aarhus39. I think it’s the greatest encouragement anyone ever gave me. I’ ll be eternally grateful to people who chose me.

Do you have a favorite spot where you write?
I can write just about everywhere, but yes, I have a favorite spot where I write.

Where is that? And why is that your favorite spot?
It’s my study room in my apartment that is very bright and has a sea view of Larnaca, my hometown.

How do you get inspired?
From my students. I am a primary school teacher, and I get inspired by the discussions we have. From my childhood memories. And basically from just about anything!