Biography of David Almond

David Almond is a prominent British children’s and young-adult fiction writer, best known for his novel Skellig. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1951, Almond was raised in Felling by working-class parents and had five brothers and sisters. He attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy, and then the University of East Anglia (he studied English and American literature, having a particular affinity for the tales of King Arthur and the writing of Hemingway) and Newcastle Polytechnic. He worked as a teacher for five years and then moved to an artists’ commune to work on his writing. He then returned to Newcastle to write, but he also worked as a special-needs teacher part-time. Both Catholicism and education are important to his writing: "Like Catholicism, [school] offers deep-seated imagery and rituals to me as a writer. Themes around education and learning run through my work."

Almond’s first collection of stories, Sleepless Nights, came out in 1985, followed by a second collection, A Kind of Heaven, in 1987. Counting Stars followed in 2000; these stories were based on Almond’s childhood. Almond’s novels include, but are not limited to: Skellig (1998), Kit's Wilderness (1999), The Fire Eaters (2003), Clay (2005), The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean (2011), and The Tightrope Walkers (2014).

Almond’s work has been translated into over 20 languages, and he has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Carnegie Medal, two Whitbread Award, the U.S. Michael L. Printz Award for young-adult book, the U.S. Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, and several foreign awards from France, Germany, and the Netherlands.

Almond lives with his wife and daughter in Newcastle and is a Professor of Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. On his webpage, he writes of himself, “I’m fascinated by the nature of creativity, by the writing process, by education. I work with artists, musicians, actors, teachers, directors, dancers. I work with, and write for, children and adults. I’m astounded by this amazing world, by the universe in which we live. I love beaches, light, music, Italy, skylarks, garlic, pasta, theatre, sardines, chilli, cinema, books. Every story that we write or read or act or sing or dance is an act of optimism, a move against the destructive forces that want to stifle us. I keep on writing.”

Study Guides on Works by David Almond

Few books are as innovative or interesting as David Almond's Kit's Wilderness (published in 2000). A children's novel, the book is set in a made-up northeast English town and tells the story of young Kit Watson and his family who move back to the...

David Almond’s Skellig was published in 1998 and is considered one of the most significant works of children’s literature in the late 20th century.

Almond had already written short stories when what would be Skellig came to him. He told an...