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Bond author Anthony Horowitz: My shame at being a school bully

My shame at being a school bully by new Bond author Anthony Horowitz: Writer says he joined ‘pack’ in a bid to avoid being teased himself

  • James Bond author Anthony Horowitz became a bully to ‘avoid being bullied’
  • Father-of-two said on a podcast how he was an unhappy and overweight child
  • He would starve himself before returning to school to avoid being teased
  • Horowitz admitted: ‘I look back on my school days with all sorts of regret’
  • Novelist has written 73 books and 14 television series including Alex Rider series

James Bond author Anthony Horowitz has confessed that he regrets becoming a bully in order to ‘avoid being bullied’ at his prep school in London.

The 65-year-old, who is now a patron of anti-bullying charity Kidscape, has said he looks back on his school days ‘with all sorts of regret’ after joining in with the ‘pack mentality’ at Orley Farm School in Harrow. 

Speaking on the How I Found My Voice podcast, Horowitz described how he was an overweight, unhappy child who would starve himself before returning to school after the holidays in a ‘pathetic’ attempt to avoid being teased.

The novelist, who is best known for the Alex Rider series of teen spy stories, said: ‘I was not a clever child and I don’t want you to get the impression that I was a misjudged child or a particularly lovely child – I wasn’t.

‘I was actually quite spoilt, my parents were very wealthy and I look back on my school days with all sorts of regret, some of which are to do with my behaviour – joining in the pack mentality and all the rest of it. 

James Bond author Anthony Horowitz has confessed that he regrets becoming a bully in order to ‘avoid being bullied’ at his prep school in London

The 65-year-old novelist has said he looks back on his school days 'with all sorts of regret' after joining in with the 'pack mentality' at Orley Farm School in Harrow

The 65-year-old novelist has said he looks back on his school days ‘with all sorts of regret’ after joining in with the ‘pack mentality’ at Orley Farm School in Harrow

‘One of the reasons I did that was, I remember, that in order to avoid being bullied I became a bully – it’s the easiest way to escape that. If you’re not going to be the prey, become the predator. I have regrets about that now.’

Father-of-two Horowitz, who is married to TV and film producer Jill Green, added: ‘I remember going on a diet for the last five days of a holiday, isn’t that pathetic?

‘That you gorge yourself for weeks and then five days before you go back to school suddenly I don’t want to eat anything, because I know I’m going to get teased for my weight.’

The author has spoken previously about his ‘uniquely damaging and emotionally empty childhood’, describing his primary school in an interview last year as ‘an evil place, so destructive in so many different ways’. 

Horowitz used storytelling around that time as a means of escape, and at aged 13 was encouraged by teachers at Rugby School to write. 

He has written 73 books and 14 television series, including the Diamond Brothers detective series and Alex Rider spy series – the first novel of which, Stormbreaker, was developed into a film in 2006. 

Speaking on the How I Found My Voice podcast, Horowitz described how he was an overweight, unhappy child who would starve himself before returning to school after the holidays in a 'pathetic' attempt to avoid being teased

Speaking on the How I Found My Voice podcast, Horowitz described how he was an overweight, unhappy child who would starve himself before returning to school after the holidays in a 'pathetic' attempt to avoid being teased

Speaking on the How I Found My Voice podcast, Horowitz described how he was an overweight, unhappy child who would starve himself before returning to school after the holidays in a ‘pathetic’ attempt to avoid being teased

Jill Green and Anthony Horowitz attend "A Night At Ronnie Scotts: 60th Anniversary Gala" at the Royal Albert Hall on October 30, 2019 in London

Jill Green and Anthony Horowitz attend ‘A Night At Ronnie Scotts: 60th Anniversary Gala’ at the Royal Albert Hall on October 30, 2019 in London

Horowitz also wrote Foyle’s War, and was chosen by the estates of Ian Fleming and Arthur Conan Doyle to continue the James Bond and Sherlock Holmes novels. 

Responding to Horowitz’s interview, Kidscape’s chief executive Lauren Seager-Smith told MailOnline: ‘Anthony has highlighted a vital truth about bullying – that very often it is in response to an unsafe environment, where children have been hurt by others and are seeking ways to survive. 

‘Children who are severely bullied are significantly more likely to be excluded from school, and those labelled ‘bully-victims’ in research studies very often have the worse life outcomes. 

‘There are still schools and communities where children do not feel safe, with the added pressure of an online world which can be relentlessly cruel. 

‘Kidscape works with children, families and schools to create communities of support where children understand the impact of bullying and are empowered to take action to stop it.’ 

James Bond author Anthony Horowitz speaking during a visit to Bousfield Primary School in London to celebrate World Book Day on March 5, 2020

James Bond author Anthony Horowitz speaking during a visit to Bousfield Primary School in London to celebrate World Book Day on March 5, 2020

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