Matt Haig: ‘Kids are so overloaded, they’ve got so much stress’

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The author and mental health activist on writing for different age groups, homeschooling, and being followed by Harry and Meghan

Matt Haig’s award-winning books for adults and children include Reasons to Stay Alive and A Boy Called Christmas. Born in 1975 in Sheffield, he now lives in Brighton with his family. His new children’s book, Evie and the Animals, follows a girl with a secret superpower: she can understand and talk to animals.

Your Christmas trilogy was written in response to your son’s question “What was Father Christmas like as a boy?” Does Evie and the Animals have an evolution story?
So that my daughter didn’t end up talking to her therapist in 20 years’ time about not being the special one, I genuinely asked her what she wanted me to write about. And she said: “talking animals”. I had to come up with a story that wasn’t just replicating Doctor Dolittle, and I wanted to somehow bridge the world of domestic animals and wild animals. I was also feeling more ecologically minded, as many of us are.

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