Children's author David Almond in conversation with Viviane Green
Venue: Swiss Cottage Library
Date: Sunday 11 January 2009
David Almond talked to child psychotherapist Viviane Green about the ways in which his fiction explores \\'the universal in the particular\\', reflecting his interest in the physical world and the imaginative world of childhood. David also talked about the way in which all his work, including Skellig, explores the transformative/healing powers of the imagination.
David Almond is known worldwide as the author of Skellig, Clay, Jackdaw Summer and many other novels, stories and plays. His work is translated in to 30 languages, is widely adapted for stage and screen and he has won a string of major awards including the Carnegie Medal and two Whitbreads. Skellig became an opera in 2008 and a film version will premiere in 2009.
Viviane Green is an adult and child and adolescent psychotherapist in private practice. She is Head of Clinical Training at the Anna Freud Centre and has developed training programmes in Europe and South America. She is published widely including editing Emotional Development in Psychoanalysis, Attachment Theory and Neuroscience: Creating Connections.
The Shape of Stories
Friday 23rd January, 2009| Posted by Caroline Graty
‘Sometimes I wonder what is an adult book and what is a children’s book, and I’m not sure’, says author David Almond. Almond’s children’s novels tackle complex themes using beautiful spare language, strong characters and a touch of humour. Judging by the number of adult fans who came to hear him talk about his work with child psychotherapist Viviane Green, age is no barrier to enjoying them.
Almond talked about the influence of his Tyneside childhood and his Catholic upbringing on his writing, and his struggle against preconceived ideas of what a ‘northern writer’ writes about. He also discussed his fascination with the shapes and patterns of stories. ‘One of the things I like about being a children’s writer is that closeness to really basic elemental storytelling, which is to do with the voice, the sounds of words on the air. It’s not even the meanings of them, but the beat of words going into someone’s head and into their soul.’
He described writing as a process of letting go, almost an altered state of being. ‘When you’re writing well you don’t really control what you’re writing about. People say “Why do you write about the things that you write about?” Well actually you can’t make a decision about it, your subjects come and get you.’