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David Almond - Author

About the Author

In March 2010 David Almond won The Hans Christian Andersen Award which is presented every other year to a living author and illustrator whose complete works have made a lasting contribution to children's literature.

 

Julia Eccleshare on David Almond:

One of the best-loved and finest writers of today, David Almond made an immediate impact with Skellig, his first book. The moving story of a boy’s discovery of a strange creature in the shed which can be interpreted in many ways introduced some to the recurrent themes of David Almond’s writing. Infused with a touch of magic or the supernatural or ‘belief’, David Almond writes sensitively about the inner complexities of growing up. Much influenced by the landscape of Tyneside where he was brought up and still lives, David Almond’s books have a strong sense of place especially in titles such as Heaven’s Eyes, The Fire-Eater and Kit’s Wilderness. Although often clearly set in some particular time, there is a timeless quality to David Almond’s stories which give them enduring appeal.

 

As a child
I grew up in a large Catholic family in Felling-on-Tyne: four sisters and one brother. I always knew I'd be a writer – I wrote stories and stitched them into little books. I had an uncle who was a printer, and in his printing shop I learned my love of black words on white pages. I loved our local library and dreamed of seeing books with my name on the cover on its shelves. I also dreamed of playing for Newcastle United (and I still wait for the call!). There was much joy in my childhood, but also much sadness: a baby sister died when I was 7; my dad died when we were all still young; my mum was always seriously ill with arthritis. But it was a childhood, like all childhoods, that provided everything a writer needs, and it illuminates and informs everything I write.
As an adult
After school, I read English and American Literature. When I graduated I became a teacher – long holidays, short days, just perfect for a writer. After 5 years, I gave up the job and lived in a commune in rural Norfolk where I wrote and met my partner Sara Jane. I wrote a long adult novel that was rejected by every UK publisher. I had two collections of short stories published by the tiny IRON Press. I started another adult novel, put it aside, and suddenly, out of the blue, I found myself writing Skellig. It was as if the story had been waiting for me, and once I began, it seemed to write itself. I hadn't expected to write a children's novel, but in some way it was the natural outcome of everything I'd done before, and was the stepping-stone to everything I've done since. I now live in Northumberland with Sara Jane and our daughter Freya. I'm a full-time writer. Sara Jane makes ceramics, Freya goes to school.
As an artist
For years, I was hardly published and hardly anyone knew about me apart from a handful of keen fans. And I made just about no money at all from writing. That didn't really matter to me. I'd keep on writing, no matter what. Then I wrote Skellig and everything changed. I began to sell lots of books, to be translated into many languages, to travel, to win lots of prizes. I've written a number of novels after Skellig, including Kit's Wilderness, The Fire-Eaters and Clay. There have been stage versions of the novels, and films and an opera are on their way. I used to write in the attic at home, but there were lots of distractions – especially from email and telephone. So last year, I had a cabin built at the bottom of the garden. It's very nice, blue-grey and surrounded by trees. I have a radiator to keep me warm and I have a tap and a kettle for making tea. Every morning – when I'm at home and not travelling or making school visits or talking to people on the phone or answering emails – I carry my laptop down to the cabin and I set to work.
Things you didn't know about David Almond
•    I once held the school high-jump record – 5 ft 2.5 inches.
•    I have a pet rabbit called Bill who can grunt.
•    I dream about football – and kick in my sleep!
•    I love Japanese food – except for the thing I was given once that looked like an alien's brain.
•    I've taken part in three Great North Runs (half-marathons).
•    My favourite place is Upper Swaledale in Yorkshire.
•    I love bikes, camping and fires.
•    My first TV appearance was as an altar boy in a televised mass when I was eleven.
•    My grandfather was a bookie (he took bets on horse races). His advice? "Never bet." He also told me, "Never read novels. They're all just lies."
•    My nickname at school was Dai, and several old friends still call me that.

 

Featured books by David Almond

The Tightrope Walkers

The Tightrope Walkers

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/07/2014

ebook of the month

Other books by David Almond

War is Over

War is Over

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/10/2019

From the bestselling, award-winning author of SKELLIG comes a vivid and moving story, beautifully illustrated, which commemorates the hundred-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. I am just a child, says John. How can I be at war? It's 1918, and war is everywhere. John's dad is fighting in the trenches far away in France. His mum works in the munitions factory just along the road. His teacher says that John is fighting, too, that he is at war with enemy children in Germany. One day, in the wild woods outside town, John has an impossible moment: a meeting with a German boy named Jan. John catches a glimpse of a better world, in which children like Jan and himself can come together, and scatter the seeds of peace. Gorgeously illustrated by David Litchfield, this is a book to treasure.

Skellig

Skellig

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 16/08/2019

When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature - part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital. But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael's world changes forever . . . Skellig won the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Book Award and is now a major Sky1 feature film, starring Tim Roth and John Simm. David Almond is also winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen award.

The Dam

The Dam

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/08/2019

A lyrical, captivating and beautiful picture book by Carnegie Medal-winner David Almond, illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Levi Pinfold. When a great dam was built by the Kielder Water in Northumberland, the valley below slowly filled with water. But just before this, when the villagers had been moved out, two musicians went back to the abandoned valley. They tore down the boards over the houses, stepped inside and started to play - for this would be the last time that music would be heard in this place. In this astonishing picture book that combines themes of loss, hope and music David Almond pays homage to all musicians, showing the ancient and unstoppable power of creativity.

Joe Quinn's Poltergeist

Joe Quinn's Poltergeist

Author: David Almond Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/03/2019

A dark, powerful and moving short story from the internationally acclaimed author of Skellig. Joe Quinn tells everyone about the poltergeist in his house, but no one believes him. No one that is, except for Davey. He's felt the inexplicable presence in the rooms, he's seen random objects fly through the air. And there's something else ... a memory of his beloved sister, and a feeling deep down that somehow it might be possible for ghosts to exist.

The Colour of the Sun

The Colour of the Sun

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 10/01/2019

A darkly twisted detective ghost tale, from the winner of the Guardian Children's Book Prize. Davie travels his small town in search of a supposed murderer. But the landscape soon starts to blur into something dark and twisted. He must make sense of the landscape, if he has any chance of finding answers. The people he encounters on his travels don't seem entirely real either. Then he meets the victim of the murder ... but, is he dead, or alive?

War is Over

War is Over

Author: David Almond Format: Hardback Release Date: 30/10/2018

From the bestselling, award-winning author of SKELLIG comes a vivid and moving story, beautifully illustrated, which commemorates the hundred-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. I am just a child, says John. How can I be at war? It's 1918, and war is everywhere. John's dad is fighting in the trenches far away in France. His mum works in the munitions factory just along the road. His teacher says that John is fighting, too, that he is at war with enemy children in Germany. One day, in the wild woods outside town, John has an impossible moment: a meeting with a German boy named Jan. John catches a glimpse of a better world, in which children like Jan and himself can come together, and scatter the seeds of peace. Gorgeously illustrated by David Litchfield, this is a book to treasure.

The Dam

The Dam

Author: David Almond Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/09/2018

A lyrical, captivating and beautiful picture book by Carnegie Medal-winner David Almond, illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Levi Pinfold. When a great dam was built by the Kielder Water in Northumberland, the valley below slowly filled with water. But just before this, when the villagers had been moved out, two musicians went back to the abandoned valley. They tore down the boards over the houses, stepped inside and started to play - for this would be the last time that music would be heard in this place. In this astonishing picture book that combines themes of loss, hope and music David Almond pays homage to all musicians, showing the ancient and unstoppable power of creativity.

La legende d'Angelino Brown

La legende d'Angelino Brown

Author: David Almond Format: eBook Release Date: 01/05/2018

See below for English description.Le vieux Bert, un chauffeur d'autobus grincheux, en a assez. Il est bien décidé à prendre sa retraite. Terminé, les arrêts d'autobus! Fini, les passagers! Il est prêt à accueillir à bras ouverts une existence paisible et rangée.Sa vie prend un tout autre tournant lorsque, pendant sa ronde, il trouve dans sa poche un petit ange, Angélino. Sa femme insiste pour l'adopter et l'envoyer à l'école. Mais un ange, haut comme trois pommes qui plus est, attire l'attention…Un magnifique roman qui n'est pas sans rappeler l'ambiance magique du conte de Pinocchio et des livres de Kate DiCamillo. Grumpy old, bus-driving Bert has had enough. No more bus stops! No more passengers! But during his typical drive, Bert feels a flutter in his pocket, and out comes a small angel. So starts the tale of Angelino, a young boy (and angel) under the care of Bert and his wife Betty. At school, Angelino is the talk of all the students. What a wonder! But Mrs. Mole is not so sure. Nor is Professor Smellie. Or the mysterious man in black who claims to be a School Inspector. Then there's Basher Malone – big, lumbering Basher Malone. He really doesn't like Angelino. And it looks like he's out to get him...A charming, captivating story that touches on friendship and family bonds, guaranteed to entertain!Original title: The Tale of Angelino Brown

The Tale of Angelino Brown

The Tale of Angelino Brown

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/04/2018

A warm and witty tale from a master storyteller, author of Carnegie Medal-winning Skellig and internationally bestseller The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas. Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel. Bert found him in his top pocket when he was driving his bus. Bert and Betty's friends think he's lovely. So do Nancy and Jack and Alice from Class 5K. What a wonder! But Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole is not so sure. Nor is Professor Smellie. Or the mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a School Inspector. Then there's Basher Malone - big, lumbering Basher Malone. He REALLY doesn't like Angelino. And it looks like he's out to get him...

Heaven

Heaven

Author: David Almond Format: eBook Release Date: 26/10/2017

"e;Uberraschend, brillant und geheimnisvoll"e; urteilt The Times uber Heaven, dieses so anruhrende wie atemlos spannende Buch des preisgekronten Autors David Almond. Als Erin mit Januar und Maus aus dem Waisenhaus abhaut, geschieht dies nicht zum ersten Mal. Doch noch nie hatten sie sich auf den Fluss gewagt. Weit weg von zuhause landen sie in einem dusteren verlassenen Fabrikgelande. Dort treffen sie auf Heaven. Doch wer ist sie? Ein Madchen? Ein Geist? Oder ein Wesen aus einer anderen Welt? Warum halt Heaven Erin und die beiden Jungs fur ihre verschollene Familie? Erin begreift, dass Heaven ein schreckliches Geheimnis hutet. Erin wei selbst, wie es sich anfuhlt, alles verloren zu haben. Und sie beschliet, Heaven zu helfen und den Bann zu brechen, der sie an diesen dusteren Ort fesselt. Aus der Reihe der Bucher mit dem blauen Band. Herausgegeben von Tilman Spreckelsen.

The Tale of Angelino Brown

The Tale of Angelino Brown

Author: David Almond Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/05/2017

A warm and witty tale from a master storyteller, author of Carnegie Medal-winning Skellig and internationally bestseller The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel. Bert found him in his top pocket when he was driving his bus. Bert and Betty's friends think he's lovely. So do Nancy and Jack and Alice from Class 5K. What a wonder! But Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole is not so sure. Nor is Professor Smellie. Or the mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a School Inspector. Then there's Basher Malone - big, lumbering Basher Malone. He REALLY doesn't like Angelino. And it looks like he's out to get him...

Tale of Angelino Brown

Tale of Angelino Brown

Author: David Almond Format: eBook Release Date: 04/05/2017

A warm and witty tale from a master storyteller, author of Carnegie Medal-winning Skellig and internationally bestseller The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas.Bert and Betty Brown have got themselves a little angel. Bert found him in his top pocket when he was driving his bus.Bert and Betty's friends think he's lovely. So do Nancy and Jack and Alice from Class 5K. What a wonder!But Acting Head Teacher Mrs Mole is not so sure. Nor is Professor Smellie. Or the mysterious bloke in black who claims to be a School Inspector.Then there's Basher Malone - big, lumbering Basher Malone. He REALLY doesn't like Angelino. And it looks like he's out to get him...

Harry Miller's Run

Harry Miller's Run

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2016

That's reet, lad! Run! There's a wolf at your tail! Run for your lovely life! A joyful, uplifting story of times gone by, from the internationally acclaimed author of Skellig. A joyful, uplifting story of times gone by from the internationally acclaimed author of Skellig, illustrated in full colour by the award-winning illustrator of A Walk in London. Liam just wants to go out running with his mates - it's not long till the Junior Great North Run, and there's training to be done. But Mam needs him today, to help old Harry clear out his house. Harry knows a thing or two about running. When he was a lad, he says, he ran all the way from Newcastle to South Shields. But Harry, says Mam, that's thirteen miles! Harry grins. Different times, he says. This is the story of that day: of sweltering heat, clattering boots, briny sea air and the heavenly taste of ice cream; the day when Harry and his pals ran and ran and ran through the blazing sunlight all the way to the sea.

Half a Creature from the Sea A Life in Stories

Half a Creature from the Sea A Life in Stories

Author: David Almond Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/04/2016

An anthology of dark, powerful and moving short stories from a master storyteller and Hans Christian Andersen Award winning author, inspired by his childhood in the north-east of England. A diverse collection of stories from the author of the internationally award-winning Skellig, deftly interwoven with illuminating autobiographical pieces on the inspirations behind the fiction. David Almond says of this unique volume, Stories on the page are so beautifully neat. All that lovely black print; those lovely straight lines and paragraphs and pages. But stories are living things, creatures that move and grow in the imaginations of writer and reader. They must be solid and touchable, like the land, and must have fluid half-known depths, like the sea. These stories take place in a real world - but in fiction, real worlds merge with dreamed worlds. Real people walk with ghosts and figments. Earthly truth goes hand-in-hand with watery lies.