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South African writer Anita Pouroulis, 44, worked as a primary school teacher in South Africa and the UK, then as a copy editor for a magazine. She now works for herself, penning children's books.

What is your official job title?

Hmm. What job title have I given myself? I’m referred to as a Children’s Author. I quite like that.

What does your job entail?

I try to give my ideas life by putting pen to paper, and in so doing, hopefully providing entertainment, information and pleasure to young readers.

What’s the best bit?

When an idea I’ve been thinking about for ages, suddenly becomes real. When I read what I’ve written and feel “Yes! That’s it!”

And the worst?

Not being able to get what I thought was such a good, creative idea into the right words, no matter how many times I rework it.

How did you get your job?

I got my teaching jobs by studying for a Bachelor Degree in Primary Education at university. This took me four years. I then studied psychology and writing part-time while I was working. These courses, and the fact that I majored in English at university, helped me make the career move from teacher to magazine writer and copy editor. After I became a mother, I thought I would try and see if I could take all the ideas that were bouncing around in my head and turn them into stories.

What qualifications/experience do you need?

For me, my experience as a teacher has been the biggest boon to my writing career. All those years of being surrounded by creative little minds nurtured my imagination. As adults we often shut out those ‘nonsensical’ ideas, whereas children aren’t afraid to talk about what’s in their imagination. Studying English for four years as my major subject at university has also helped me tremendously in my writing career, and also the fact that I read voraciously as a child.

What advice would you give someone who would like a job such as yours?

Read as much as you can. Love and appreciate the power of words. Write down all your imaginings and ideas as you never know when you’ll use them. And don’t ever think that your ideas are silly or not good enough because one day they may lead to a superb story!

To find out more about Anita and the books she's written, click here.


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