Tanith Carey is an award-winning journalist and author, who writes for a variety of publications across the world, including The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Times, among others. She has also written eight books. With two daughters, aged 11 and 14, she is also one of the UK’s most high-profile parenting authors, writing books which aim to tackle the most pressing challenges for today’s families.
Tanith is a Malvern Girls’ College Old Girl and was our Guest Speaker at this year’s Prizegiving. Nia Grainger (Year 7) spent some time with Tanith to find out more about her life as an author and her time at school.
Why did you want to write books?
Because I had something I wanted to say. The world is different from when I was growing up; there’s more media pressure now. I wanted life to be easier for my daughters and for them to grow up stronger.
What is your favourite book from the ones you have written? Why?
I’ve written 8 books. They are like my children, so I don’t like one more than the other!
I really enjoyed working on Never Kiss a Man in a Canoe. I spent a lot of time in the library, researching. I loved hearing the voices from the past; they were really vivid. I enjoy understanding history through people.
Taming the Tiger Parent is all about understanding that people are better at different things and we have lots of different talents. I wanted to say, “Parents – please calm down! Children need childhoods”. Children learn through play and they need time alone.
What was it like for you in New York? Was it helpful that you moved?
It was a big shock. I went from a lovely, quiet school to being thrown into busy New York. I got a new perspective (I lived in Surrey before moving). I learnt my strengths and I also learnt that I loved England. Being in New York made me more confident. I was the US correspondent for a national newspaper, so my job gave me a more global view and showed me the bigger picture.
What other authors did you like while you were growing up?
I loved Ballet Shoes (by Noel Streatfieild) and other evocative books such as Tom’s Midnight Garden (by Philippa Pearce). I also enjoyed Sylvia Plath’s work, Greek mythology (which my father introduced me to) and Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles.
When you were at school, was there anybody that inspired you?
Mrs Anabel Donald, who was Head of English. She was eccentric, clever, free-spirited and a bit of a maverick. She had a book published when I was at school, at a time when it wasn’t easy to get published. It was called Hannah at 35. Mrs Donald inspired me to think that I could have a book published too. She went on to become a thriller writer.
What is your favourite memory of being at school?
I was very hard-working at school. At the weekends, we could have the run of the whole school building, so I would take over a classroom for the weekend. There weren’t any electricity sockets in the dorms, so being in a classroom meant I could plug my radio in and listen to the radio chart show on a Sunday night while I worked. I loved it – just me, my books and studying.
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