Skellig Play A Play for Children by David Almond


Skellig Play A Play for Children by David Almond

When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature - part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital. But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael's world changes for ever ...


Lyrical, innovative and unforgettably moving. Sunday Express (Cressida Cowell) Lyrical, innovative and moving...unforgettably moving -- Cressida Cowell Sunday Express The book I wish I'd written is Skellig by David Almond. Almond's book has a great sense of the mysterious; we are left with a sense of wonder. I wish that I had written it! -- Joseph Delaney Books For Keeps This modern classic has been reissued in a beautiful 15th anniversary edition -- Lorna Bradbury The Sunday Telegraph An exquisitely crafted book with a mystical core The Daily Telegraph The sort of children's book that makes adults find excuses to read more of them Times Educational Supplement Hard to put down -- Liz Lightfoot The Daily Telegraph Refusing to read this book on the grounds that you are not a child makes as much sense as refusing to read crime fiction because you are not a criminal. A deep and lovely book. -- Nick Hornby The Times An exquisite book The Sunday Telegraph Brings Magical Realism to working-class Northeast England i (The Independent) A story full of heart and magic and big confusing emotions, elegantly told by a master craftsman. A perfect piece of art -- Lucy Christopher Big Issue (london) Touched with a visionary intensity, this strange, hugely readable and life-affirming tale exercises every muscle of the imagination The Guardian Humorous, heart-stopping and emotional roller-coaster of a read with a cliff-hanger of a conclusion. Inspired and inspiring. Newcastle Journal A visionary story...a lyrical, magical kind of book which can be read on many different levels The Daily Mail Voted Carnegie Medal's Number one Top Book of the past 70 years The Times I can't eat a chinese takeaway without thinking about this strange and beautiful book about an angel who seems to have lost his way. -- Gill Harvey The Big Issue A bookshelf essential. The Guardian Deservedly popular The Observer Powerful and moving A beautiful story which will enchant young and old alike Western Morning News A modern classic Listed as on the of the 100 Best Children's Books Ever (Novels) The Daily Telegraph One of those books that you can't put down -- Junior Reviewer Conor Neison, aged 12 Evening Echo (Cork) Acclaim for SKELLIG (the story): 'Tremendously innovative, highly original and very moving. David Almond is a fascinating new voice.

-affirming tale exercises every muscle of the imagination. THE GUARDIAN Tense and involving ... something not to miss. THE INDEPENDENT Gripping, beautiful and brilliantly written ... everyone is raving about this unforgettable book. THE SUNDAY TIMES A stunning debut ... an extraordinary book. THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH Acclaim for WILD GIRL, WILD BOY: 'Touching, beautifully focused.

About the Author

David Almond

David Almond was our Guest Editor in September 2011 CLICK HERE to see his choices.

As a child

I grew up in a large Catholic family in Felling-on-Tyne: four sisters and one brother. I always knew I'd be a writer – I wrote stories and stitched them into little books. I had an uncle who was a printer, and in his printing shop I learned my love of black words on white pages. I loved our local library and dreamed of seeing books with my name on the cover on its shelves. I also dreamed of playing for Newcastle United (and I still wait for the call!). There was much joy in my childhood, but also much sadness: a baby sister died when I was 7; my dad died when we were all still young; my mum was always seriously ill with arthritis. But it was a childhood, like all childhoods, that provided everything a writer needs, and it illuminates and informs everything I write.

As an adult

After school, I read English and American Literature. When I graduated I became a teacher – long holidays, short days, just perfect for a writer. After 5 years, I gave up the job and lived in a commune in rural Norfolk where I wrote and met my partner Sara Jane. I wrote a long adult novel that was rejected by every UK publisher. I had two collections of short stories published by the tiny IRON Press. I started another adult novel, put it aside, and suddenly, out of the blue, I found myself writing Skellig. It was as if the story had been waiting for me, and once I began, it seemed to write itself. I hadn't expected to write a children's novel, but in some way it was the natural outcome of everything I'd done before, and was the stepping-stone to everything I've done since. I now live in Northumberland with Sara Jane and our daughter Freya. I'm a full-time writer. Sara Jane makes ceramics, Freya goes to school.

As an artist

For years, I was hardly published and hardly anyone knew about me apart from a handful of keen fans. And I made just about no money at all from writing. That didn't really matter to me. I'd keep on writing, no matter what. Then I wrote Skellig and everything changed. I began to sell lots of books, to be translated into many languages, to travel, to win lots of prizes. I've written a number of novels after Skellig, including Kit's Wilderness, The Fire-Eaters and Clay. There have been stage versions of the novels, and films and an opera are on their way. I used to write in the attic at home, but there were lots of distractions – especially from email and telephone. So last year, I had a cabin built at the bottom of the garden. It's very nice, blue-grey and surrounded by trees. I have a radiator to keep me warm and I have a tap and a kettle for making tea. Every morning – when I'm at home and not travelling or making school visits or talking to people on the phone or answering emails – I carry my laptop down to the cabin and I set to work.

Things you didn't know about David Almond

I once held the school high-jump record – 5 ft 2.5 inches.

I have a pet rabbit called Bill who can grunt.

I dream about football – and kick in my sleep!

I love Japanese food – except for the thing I was given once that looked like an alien's brain.

I've taken part in three Great North Runs (half-marathons).

My favourite place is Upper Swaledale in Yorkshire.

I love bikes, camping and fires.

My first TV appearance was as an altar boy in a televised mass when I was eleven.

My grandfather was a bookie (he took bets on horse races). His advice? "Never bet." He also told me, "Never read novels. They're all just lies."

My nickname at school was Dai, and several old friends still call me that.

Julia Eccleshare on David Almond:

One of the best-loved and finest writers of today, David Almond made an immediate impact with Skellig, his first book. The moving story of a boy’s discovery of a strange creature in the shed which can be interpreted in many ways introduced some to the recurrent themes of David Almond’s writing. Infused with a touch of magic or the supernatural or ‘belief’, David Almond writes sensitively about the inner complexities of growing up. Much influenced by the landscape of Tyneside where he was brought up and still lives, David Almond’s books have a strong sense of place especially in titles such as Heaven’s Eyes, The Fire-Eater and Kit’s Wilderness. Although often clearly set in some particular time, there is a timeless quality to David Almond’s stories which give them enduring appeal.

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Book Info


128 pages


David Almond
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Author's Website


Publication date

13th November 2003



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