“The sounds and rhythms of words are really important to me.” – David Almond
Born on this date in 1951, British author Almond started writing for adults but earned accolades and critical success with works for children and young adults. Since the publication of his first young adult book, Skellig, his YA novels, stories, and plays have brought him international success and widespread critical acclaim. He is one of just 30 writers to win the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award, "the world's most prestigious prize in children's literature."
A native of Newcastle, Almond said he dreamed of being a writer “even as a child,” creating little books to share with his family and classmates. A teacher right out of college, he didn’t begin a writing career until the 1985 adult novel, Sleepless Nights. While he had modest success writing for adults, it was Skellig that launched him onto the his award-filled (he’s won over a dozen) YA writing path. His most acclaimed recent work is A Song for Ella Grey based on the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice.
Noted for a lyrical style that also often focuses on the region in which he resides, he said he credits “regional” writers with influencing him. “I learned to be a regional writer by reading people like (writer of the American South) Flannery O'Connor,” he said. “She was a huge influence.”
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