The event kicked off with a reading of David’s next novel, A Song for Ella Grey, an exciting and magical tale based on the classic Greek tragedy Orpheus and Eurydice. This reading later inspired the audience to ask many questions about the novel, and his writing process, but first, David Almond’s brain was picked by the Manchester Writing School’s own Livi Michael.
Their discussion was mainly based on politics and creative writing within the current school curriculum. When questioned about the current way children are taught in schools. David said “When Skellig won the Carnegie Medal, I dared to say that ten percent of the school curriculum should be dreaming. I was attacked by the newspaper the next day.” Throughout, David spoke about his passion for education and children’s literature: “Book festivals like Manchester Children’s Book Festival give a voice to young people,” he said. The entire discussion was based around similar themes.
Afterwards, there was an opportunity for the audience to ask David Almond questions. He was asked many thought-provoking questions, such as what his opinion was on film adaptations of books and how he was inspired to become a writer. When asked this, he said his Uncle was a printer and an unpublished writer, and he was fascinated by both of these things. He was also asked about his inspiration for Skellig and how long it takes to write his books, which he claimed was usually between nine and fifteen months.
Before the evening came to a conclusion, there was a Blackwell’s stall in the Geoffrey Manton Atrium, which sold several of David Almond’s books, including Skellig and its prequel, My Name is Mina, among others. There was also an opportunity to get each book signed by David Almond himself, and to get a picture with him.