Interview: David Almond on narrating audiobooks, judging prizes, and tips for budding writers
Author David Almond has written over twenty books for children and young adults, with many receiving critical acclaim. He is perhaps best known for his 1998 novel Skelling, which has since been adapted into a play, an opera, and a film. His works are highly philosophical and thus appeal to children and adults alike.
Abigail Jaggers chatted to David Almond about finding his voice as a northerner, the legacy of Skelling, and passing creative writing skills on to future generations.
On how he started writing for children:
“I got halfway down the first page and I realised it was a book for children, for young people, and I’d never expected to do that.”
On his book Skellig being passed down through generations:
“It’s great now because I meet lots of people who say ‘Yes, I read Skelling when I was in primary school!'”
On judging the Guardian’s Children Fiction Prize:
“The great thing about it was that I saw the range of wonderful work that’s being published for children, for young people, today.”
On a book he wishes he’d written:
“I think he’s a beautiful writer, and also, of course, a great, great illustrator.”
On narrating his own audiobooks:
“When I’m writing, I definitely write for the sound of the words.”
On how a good story should work in many forms:
“The barriers between the spoken word, the acted word, and the written word are artificial really.”
On the sorts of audiobooks he listens to:
“I listened to crime and punishment, and that was amazing because it was like Raskolnikov was kind of having agonies inside my own head.”
On passing on the skill of creative writing:
“I think it’s about… saying, ‘Look, I can do this – now you can do it as well.'”
On tips he would give to anyone who wants to write or improve their writing:
“Be childlike, be imperfect, and just do it.”
On writing as a Northerner:
“I think for a long time I tried to not write about and not accept who I was and where I came from.”
On what he’s up to at the moment:
“There’s a new novel coming out in May called The Tale of Angelino Brown…“
Thanks to David Almond for speaking to us!
Listening Books members can find Skelling and other titles by David Almond in our library catalogue.
This post was written by Holly Newson
Picture credit: Sarah Jame Palmer; Donna Lisa Healy