Philip Pullman: Storyteller

When Philip Pullman wrote His Dark Materials, he thought he might have written a story that would appeal to a "a few clever kids and a few intelligent adults." The series has been translated into 40 languages and has sold 15 million copies. If he was that wrong about that, he's probably wrong about what it's about, too.

Robert Butler's interview with Pullman is full of fascinating details, from how he wrote the book (three pages a day, no more, no less) to why he won't debate his work with fundamentalists ("You can't communicate with people who know they've got all the answers").

Oh, and casting Nicole Kidman in The Golden Compass? That was Pullman's idea. He admits he was wrong about making her character a brunette, however. "You sometimes are wrong about your characters. She's blonde. She has to be."