David Almond

Portrait David Almond
© Ali Ghandtschi

David Almond was born in Gateshead, England in 1951. He completed his studies of English Literature at the University of East Anglia in 1975.

He published two collections short stories in 1985 and 1987, then his first and so far best-known novel »Skellig« in 1998. The novel tells the story of twelve-year-old Michael, whose family moves into a house in need of renovation. In the garage, Michael discovers a strange being that calls itself »Skellig« and says it is a mixture of human, animal, bird, and angel. A review in »The New York Times« wrote that Almond, who had previously written only for adults, did not succumb to the temptation to make his first children’s book one that tried to explain everything and convey a specific message; instead, its simple but poetic language created a world in which the boundaries between daily life and magic blur. The novel received many awards, including the Carnegie Medal (1998) and the Honor Book citation of the Michael L. Printz Award (2000). In the meantime, »Skellig« has been adapted as a radio play, a theater play, an opera, and a television film. The novel »Fire Eater« (2003) explores themes like friendship, civil courage, belief, and social differences in many nuances and on different levels. The jury of Germany’s Working Group Children’s and Young People’s Literature named the German translation (Ger. »Feuerschlucker«, 2005) its Book of the Month for March 2015, praising its language for taking the time to elaborate atmosphere at length; it recommended the book as worth reading more than once to discover ever new details and nuances. In the »Skellig« prequel »My Name is Mina« (2010), Almond provides a glimpse into the outsider Mina’s diary, which questions belief, love, grief, regulations, and life itself. In 2012, he published the illustrated children’s book »The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas« (2012), the story of Stanley Potts, whose uncle takes him in after his parents die. After a furious quarrel, Stanley runs away and joins a circus, becoming an attraction. Almond’ most recent work, »A Song for Ella Grey« (2014), a new interpretation of the myth of Orpheus, was described by the »Times on Saturday« as »word poison« that makes it impossible for the reader to read anything else.

David Almond, regarded in Britain and internationally as a heavyweight children’s and young people’s author, was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Prize in 2010 for his work. He lives in Northumberland, England.