David Almond: Life, Writing, Skellig and Mina

This article was publish in last Saturday's Guardian Review (August 21st). David Almond, one of our most treasured and brilliant children's author, spoke to Sarah Crown about 'A Life In Writing', where he revealed a bit about his life, his influences and his writing. His great success first appeared with the publication of 'Skellig'; a totally absorbing "small tale" about a young boy, Michael, whose completely normal life is thrown assunder by the birth of his baby sister, whose is extremely ill. As he tries to make sense of what is happening in his world, he finds " a skinny, pale, black-suited creature, 'covered in dust and webs....dead blue-bottles scattered on his head and shoulders." What follows is an amazing story in which Almond did what he does best, finds the extraordinary in ordinary things. Perhaps the strongest character in Skellig is Mina, a quirky, bizarre, friendly philosophical young girl who befriends and helps Michael. So strong a character in fact, that her voice has followed Almond throughout his writing career, until at last her story has been published in 'My Name Is Mina'. This is an incredible, chaotic, shining novel written in Mina's voice through her notebook. She gives us glimpses of her own troubled, yet joyous life, as well as observations of nature, human behaviour and her near obsession with William Blake (impressive for a ten-year-old). And yet the voice is completely genuine, never once veering from it's tone and character. A total joy to read!
I'm also giving you the link to David Almond's own website. Here, among other interesting things, you'll find all of Almonds books spanning his career. Each one is wonderful and extraordinary in their own right.


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