#edbookfest: Isla Fisher: “I want everyone to love reading as much as I do.”

Isla Fisher | Hollywood actor Isla Fisher has played many roles over the years, from a bonkers bridesmaid in Wedding Crashers to the poster girl for consumerism in Confessions of a Shopaholic. But her favourite role has been being a mum and making up stories at bedtime for her three kids every night since they were born. Now all can share these funny, anarchic and charming tales of Marge, a very unusual babysitter. Join Isla to hear all about the latest book in her series, Marge and the Great Train Rescue.

“It’s a lot of fun writing all these stories.”
Isla Fisher’s parents are Scottish. Her mum’s from Stranraer, her dad from Bathgate, she’s even named after Islay, the Scottish Isle, as her dad’s a fan of whisky, so it seems a fitting place for her to be able to launch her new book, “very special”, she says.

Her character Marge is a babysitter with an interesting view of the rules, to say the least. “I get to live vicariously through Marge,” beams Isla. “Being a mummy I have to be sensible.” Marge is anarchic and fun. The books feature three short stories each, “kind of like the Netflix boxset”, perfect to binge on or take one at a time as you please.

“It’s a lot of run writing all of these stories. You know how all of you children have dreams, and they can be crazy? You can be flying, there could be a man made out of peanut butter. I think about that stuff during the day and write them down.

“You kids are given so many rules – I thought it would be funny if an adult comes in and does things differently… but still follows the safety rules, obviously!”

“I want everyone to love reading as much as I do.”
While she does technically have a publisher, she has her own additional editors that she uses: her children get the stories read to them first. “Sometimes my editor will say to cut this bit and my seven year old says don’t – who do you think I listen to?” This means that there’s no boring bits in theory as her children are so honest. “When they laugh it’s the best feeling in the world.”

The newest book is her favourite as she’s constantly growing. “I’m getting better as I go along,” she notes. “I am a work in progress.”

The event quickly opens up to audience questions: her favourite ice cream is min chocolate chip; if she’s not allowed to play Marge on screen one day she hopes it can be Betty White; she studied as a clown and can juggle; she published her first books when she was 18, teen fiction – Seduced by Fame and Bewitched –  but her new books came from making up bedtime tales for her own children.

She loves doing this because she grew up reading and hopes children today don’t get to miss out on a similar wonder when they’re surrounded by videos and gizmos that are everywhere. “I don’t want all of you tiny people to miss out on how wonderful it is to fall into a story,” she smiles. “I want everyone to love reading as much as I do.”

With an hour filled with questions, curiosity and a high level of animal impressions from people of all ages, it’s fair to say that Isla’s books are doing the job.

More posts from Edinburgh Book Festival

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