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The I was school of the air prison. Why has a writer. Why is a writer in. But it was by radio station WSU under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. Today's program the right her for children. I should like to tell you a few things about myself and the reason is there are some accounts about me which are far fetched simply not true. Well to begin I was born in 1850 in Edinburgh Scotland and was named Robert Lewis Balfour Stevenson. My family lived at 17 Harriet road. My mother was usually ill that my father was an engineer. And we had a servant. Alison Cunningham whom I dearly loved for telling me wonderful story. We do it in his head with ghosts and which is good there's the wonderful creatures
that you often envy them. You know very fully that what I think of such things but why aren't they the stories of our own Scott's history. I'm not aware that they are or they aren't. I only dislike what they are a boat a young gentleman ought not to be brought up in a world of goblins. His evening meal ready yet it's 20 minutes past 6:00. This is Stevenson wants to finish a little first. My father was a strict person but generous. However if one thing was certain he always demanded his way and according to his way I was to be an engineer. I thought the whistle Hilary's due to be a reasonably young men at least a year or is it me not beyond reasonable for me to think so. Is it not your point of view Father point of view. What nonsense is that you know or will you meant to be an engineer. It's the tradition of the United our father will ya know what polygamy Fiddy
we have been through the issue before father not really know it. You disregard my feelings if that is what you mean they merely remind you of your duty. Then we simply differ. I have no feeling for the engineering profession you know that you have told me. Not to know. Ellison I have business with Robert went through once and yes. I. Know. Continue Robert through Robert. You're probably a life of literature for your show no indication of support of your declining to talk about the matter. Answer me one question. What income will you have. I shall earn my living by my writing. It is against your sense and reason. You have no name as a writer. Besides which are all but it does not work for
gentlemen. And that dear friend Henley is how it is and how I come to be in friends that you are not well does your father know. He has sent me some money. Well then you could live on it and you can write I don't like the idea of living up on my father's money. I want to earn my own way here in Paris all the writers start of course. But they write. I wish I had a father send money. I've sold an article on what Whitman. Of course I told you when I first met you you had talent but don't expect very much. Even the greatest writers are never well sure of income. So my father said in that he was great. At any rate he and I have since compromised. That's why he sent me the money he wants me home.
I'm to study yet. You don't want that either. No I don't know what will you do. I'll return to Edinburgh for a while at least. I hate being at odds with my father he's a very generous person. I respect him but at the same time I understand you must write I must face the deepest part of me Henley I've known forever that I have to write my own childhood when Alison read to me your mother know the woman servant who cared for me as I grew up. Those wonderful stories of adventure. In the year 1880 I married and because my wife Fanny had once been married and already had a son. I became a stepfather but in the very pleasantest way Lloyd liked me he called me Robert and I like him. And there we were back in Scotland after returning from San Francisco. Of course we had no money as yours.
How long have you had this coffee. Mr Stevenson It began on the voyage from America but it's nothing Doctor. You'd best take care rest as much as you can. We do as he says Robert. Yes I suppose I shall have to look. It's begun to roam. I do hate this weather. When you married mother you never mention about the rain in Scotland we shan't be here always Lloyd. But I had nothing to do. Not even any books just haven't arrived yet. Be patient old man. It's very difficult. Well up look here what is it. What what. Why it's an island of course. Why do you say of course he doesn't look very much like the pictures of an island because it's a special I mean don't you see. There is no sense in drawing in the trees and whatnot. Oh no of course not. Why this map is a seaman's map and and here where this cross is there's treasure. How
much time a great deal but don't you know exactly. Not until the treasure is uncovered. It's its pirate treasure. The blooms and pieces of eight English gold guineas and. And who's buried it there. I don't know. I should certainly like to find out. Yes. Well why don't we think about it. Perhaps we can begin a story. I think I said it to McMillan's if I were you. Why not. It's a very good story I think. Yes but a story for young people. You ought not to expect a grown man to read about pirates. Well there's a boy's paper called young folks try Sonny if they're what you call it Treasure Island. Try Sonny is there Robert. Perhaps I shall. And I must say your cough has improved. Writing Treasure Island is making a well-paced of you.
I sent in Treasure Island and it was accepted. So much of it was to be printed each week. But when it came out. Well the reports were not encouraging. My cock Meanwhile became much worse. I had tuberculosis. My doctor sent me two sorts of. My father's still urgent. There see that right in his crotch you know reward. You did not listen to me ten years ago. You do not listen to me no I do not know how much longer I made it is I do not know how much longer I can afford to support the son who has no label you who would it is I am sorry to hear you are. I busied myself with writing poetry. I wanted to recapture the feelings I had while I was a child. I imagined how it would sound if Alison were reading my poems. A birdie with a yellow deal hopped up on the window sill cocked his shining eye and said and you shamed you sleepyhead.
In winter I get up at night and dress by yellow candle light in summer quite the other way. I have to go to bed by day. I have to go to bed and to see the bird still hopping on the tree or hear the grown up people's feet still going past me in the story. And often times I heard both voices at once or provocation. And does it not seem hard to your record in court when all the sky is clear and the blue it was not an easy time. Need for money poor health. No measure of success. And then began. Stephen Henley What are you doing here in Switzerland. Why didn't you wire going to surprise a man's friends drop in the seam of the Jews droppin you come
directly I know you have. How good of you. Nothing good about me it's pure business. Just think of me hereafter as your literary agent. I'm not quite that successful I'm afraid. What makes you say that. Oh some fewer things I have no income. My work is seldom changed. All change your treasure island itself. Yes quite poorly says my publisher. Your behind on the news. The book has begun to catch on. And the prime minister gives you his own personal endorsement. You couldn't put it down read it the night through. Now what do you think of that he ought to pay more attention to politics. The book is not that it is good it's fine and you shall write more. But perhaps I ought to tell you how I felt about my second good fortune. After all I had never intended to write merely for children who were not able yet to read more advanced books than mine. And what kind of a child would the prime minister of
England have been. No I've thought about this matter about Treasure Island and all the books that came after and I feel that there was no such thing as a child's book. Rather it was a very special way of looking at the world which most children have and which some grown ups have not forgotten. My stepson Boyd often read aloud from my books in that special way. You're not reading Treasure Island again. Why not. Aren't you tired of all those pirates. No. Just listen. I take up my pen in the year of grace 17 and go back to look I don't see why you must know it by heart. So where was I. Yes. Back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow in and brown the old seaman with the saber cut first took up his lodging under our roof. Indeed. Do be quiet Robert. I remember him as if it were yesterday and he came plodding to the end or his sea chest following behind him in a hand borrow a
tall strong heavy nut brown man is Terry pigtail falling over the shoulders of a soiled blue coat. He is a wonderful Robert Louis Stevenson. It's an adventure. And a few are the men in this world who can understand what adventure is. Good. Alice I do so agree. I wrote many more books. I had my own adventures and saw the world in the special way that I wanted to see. Before I died. I wrote a poem for my own gravestone. Let me read it to you. Not because it's my poem but because it's what I meant to say about my life. Under the wide and starry sky dig the ground and let me live. Glad did I live and gladly die. And I laid me down with a will. This be the verse you grave for me. Here he lies where he
longed to be. Home is the sailor home from sea and the hunter home from the here. You are. Heard in today's program where Emma Sue Phelps Tom Kaylor Gary Jay Williams John Barrett and John Beauchamp Harold Swanson and Fred Moore as were our studio engineers. Why is the writer is written by Floyd Horowitz and directed by Larry Walcott. This is Dave Carter speaking. This has been another program in the series why is a writer produced by WSU wise I was school of the air under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center and
is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network.
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Why is a writer?
The writer for children
Producing Organization
University of Iowa
WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
The Writer for Children, in this case, Robert Louis Stevenson, who was an adult yet was a still a child in the way he viewed the world.
Series Description
Produced by the Iowa School of the Air, this series focuses on various works of literature from Shakespeare to Twain.
Broadcast Date
Media type
Actor: Setterberg, Dick
Actor: Keeler, Tom
Actor: Phelps, Emma Sue
Actor: Williams, Gary
Announcer: Carter, Dave
Director: Walcoff, Larry
Producing Organization: University of Iowa
Producing Organization: WSUI 910 AM (Radio station : Iowa City, Iowa)
Writer: Horowitz, Floyd
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: S60-6-14 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:30?
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Chicago: “Why is a writer?; The writer for children,” 1961-01-13, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed December 4, 2023,
MLA: “Why is a writer?; The writer for children.” 1961-01-13. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. December 4, 2023. <>.
APA: Why is a writer?; The writer for children. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from