About Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is a British writer, novelist, screenwriter, and essayist. He is also a music and literary critic as well as songwriter. As a philanthropist he set up a kids literacy project called “Ministry of Stories” aimed at helping children and young adults develop writing skills and to help teachers inspire their students to write.

PRE-WATCHING – Check the meaning of these words.

tentpole / treatment / ministry / debt / charity / background / to grant / literacy / dystopian

I. You’re going to listen to Nick Hornby talk about different topics. In this first clip he talks about tips to come up with ideas for writing. Listen and answer the questions.

  1. Does Nick Hornby plan his stories? ___________________________________________________________
  2. What do Nick Hornby and Woody Allen share about how to get ideas for writing? ____________________________________________________
  1. When he starts to write, what does he take as a starting point? ________________________ or ________________________________
  2. What is the structure he has when he starts writing a novel? A _____________,a ___________________ in the middle and a kind of _______________.
  3. Why can’t his brother-in-law, Robert Harris, use the same strategy when plotting?____________________________________________________
  4. As a screenwriter, why did he think he was not a professional writer? ___________________________________________________________
  5. Why doesn’t he like treatments?__________________________________________________
  6. Does he revise his texts a lot? __________ How many drafts does he write? ____________________________________

II. Nick Hornby is also a philanthropist and he is the co-founder of a charity called Ministry of Stories. Listen to him talking about the charity and fill in the gaps with the missing word.

  • Ministry of Stories is a ____________ which works with authors and children. It helps children with any  ___________ of writing: Soap operas, ______________,etc.
  • Hornby says they don’t want _______________ kids coming to Ministry of Stories, because they have got to include those kids who don’t have access.Then Rebecca adds that:  ______________children have less access to _______________pursuits because creativity is seen as a luxury.
  • Hornby says that everyone we ever valued as an _____________, almost none of them had ____________.Dickens was from a proper poor family and his father was in prison for ______________, Jane Austin had no money, Aretha Franklin, Elvis Prestley… the greatests artists in history came from a non-privileged _____________.

III. In this clip Hornby is asked whether parenthood has influenced his writing and about what today’s kids read. Listen to him and check if the statements are true or false. Correct the false information.

T F
1. Hornby’s kids have read and love his books
2. Nick Hornby’s youngest kid doesn’t have any friend who is not desperate to read
3. We grant a moral superiority to book reading that we should eliminate
4.Writers and screenwriters should stop creating dystopian stories and offer more optimism.

IV. WRITING TASK: Do you agree with Nick Hornby that in our society creativity is for privileged people? Are technologies like Wattpad and other writing platforms helping ordinary people achieve their dreams to become authors?

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