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Of course, government or private scholarships would help to encourage creative talents. For example, the Young Walter Scott Prize in the UK is a wonderful and unique initiative, encouraging young people not just to write, but to take an interest in history. And I’d also say it begins with newspapers and magazines, and radio and TV programmes giving more pages and air time to literary matters: news about books and writers, reviews and coverage of book-related events. So many of the magazines and newspapers that I’ve been interviewed by tell me they’re all so terribly concerned about the lack of interest in literary matters. Yet, it’s ironic that they themselves don’t feature any regular articles about this subject. If you all do that, you’d create an environment where books – the writing and the reading of them – are considered an essential element of daily living. There’s really no need to have pages and pages about what some ‘celebrity’ is wearing or – in most cases – not wearing, is there? Who cares?
As for freedom of expression, bear in mind that it’s very often the case that, just because a writer writes about something ‘daring’, it doesn’t necessarily make his or her book engaging, interesting or even vaguely readable. So much of the world’s greatest books were written under repressive and inhuman conditions. Write more books with engaging, original, non-didactic stories. Overt moralising is boring.