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It's All In the Facts...!

Curious children, anyone with a curious mind, this one is for you. Quirky questions, even quirkier answers, they can all be found in Radzi Chinyanganya's latest book, a book of facts... Radzi kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to share some of the ideas and inspiration behind the book...


Radzi’s Incredible Facts is great. Did you compile the facts to help readers become the smartest kid in the class or just to get smarter?

That is a brilliant question! For me, learning is a journey, and we all go at our own pace. Some people go further than others, some people get to destinations quicker than others so it’s not about ever comparing yourself to somebody else whether that be your friend, people in the year above, year below or even your teachers. It’s just about learning and being as smart/ clever as you possibly can be.

 

Were you a smart, fact hungry kid or did the desire for knowledge come later?

As a kid, I definitely had a curious mind, but it wasn’t until I become an adult that I realised just how much I loved facts. It’s kind of how I understand the world around me and once you’ve got those nuggets you’ve got those dots that you can connect to go back in history, go into the future, or go around the world with your understanding.

 

If you could be an expert in just one subject, what would you choose and why?

I’d love to be an expert in history because if you understand everything from where you come from, you’ll have a good idea about where we’re going.

 

What proportion of the book is facts you knew? How much is facts that you wanted to know and researched?

Only around 1% of the book was stuff that I knew before researching because ultimately, I love facts and I love learning, so I wanted to go on the journey with the reader as I was writing it.

 

How did you decide on content and structure? Where to start and what to include seem to be crucial but not easy decisions for this type of book.

My process was really simple. The hardest part was deciding what the chapters would be i.e. what the topics of information would be. Once I felt like I had those, it was a case of explore, explore explore and if I found something that I thought was fascinating, I thought there was a good chance that the reader might do as well. 

 

Do you know how many facts are in in the book? Do readers need to know, or focus on devouring them? I ask because there are some fact books for kids which love to show off how many facts they contain!

I can’t believe that it’s never occurred to me to think about how many facts are in my book. I think this is partly because for me the facts aren’t about the number or the volume, it’s about the quality and its about the impact that they have. I want every simple fact to be something that raises an eyebrow and makes somebody laugh and makes somebody go “oooo”. And if I’ve done that, then that’s the kind of thing I wanted rather than having a million facts that you’re going to forget, I’d much rather you have one that you’ll never forget.

 

How do you balance between presenting a fact and providing too much detail?

What I think is important for some of the facts is the context has to be there for you to understand the significance of what I’m about to tell you and in those they have a little bit of an explanation but for some, just hearing that when Neil Armstrong first stepped foot on the moon, they left behind three bags of poop- that is all you need to know!

 

There are eight subjects in the book. Do you prefer fact books to be short and sweet, allowing for more to follow?

The amazing thing about life is that there are new facts today that weren’t around yesterday so there are always room for more facts, and I’d love to do another one.


If you could take just one fact and research it for a book, tv show or podcast, what would you choose? How would you research and then present it?

My TV series would be called ‘How to Deal with Life’. It sounds really simple, but actually it takes a lifetime to master, and we would speak to masters in all different areas of life to give you life hacks to get through every single interaction and circumstance that you might ever come up in.

 

As well as this book of amazing facts you have tv work. With such an active mind, what do you do to relax? Do you have any tips for our readers?

As weird as it sounds, going to the gym and working my body really hard, actually helps my mind to relax because when I finish, I don’t have any energy to do anything apart from sit down and just zone out. On top of that, I do like to read. I think if I read before bed, I know I’m going to have a brilliant night sleep.

 

And the final one, the secret one, is I love going to a spa.


Radzi's Incredible Facts is published by DK and available from all good bookshops.


Our thanks to Radzi for taking the time to answer our questions and Isabelle Panay from DK for making it possible.

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