"People ask me if I ever thought of writing a children's book," Amis said, in a sideways excursion from a chat about John Self, the antihero of his 1984 novel Money. "I say, 'If I had a serious brain injury I might well write a children's book', but otherwise the idea of being conscious of who you're directing the story to is anathema to me, because, in my view, fiction is freedom and any restraints on that are intolerable."
"I would never write about someone that forced me to write at a lower register than what I can write," he added.
But in an angry blog response on her website, author Lucy Coats, whose books include the Greek Beasts and Heroes series and novel Hootcat Hill, called Amis's remark "arrogant twaddle" with an "implicit insult to those of us who do write children's books".
And writer Jane Stemp, whose book The Secret Songs was shortlisted for the 1998 Guardian children's fiction award, and who has cerebral palsy, said: "I have brain damage ... So Amis couldn't have insulted me harder if he'd sat down and thought about it for a year. Superglueing him to a wheelchair and piping children's fiction into his auditory canal suddenly seems like a good idea."