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Michelle Paver - Author

About the Author

Born in Malawi in 1960 to a Belgian mother and a father who ran the tiny 'NYASALAND TIMES', Michelle Paver moved to the UK when she was three. She was brought up in Wimbledon and, following a Biochemistry Degree from Oxford, she became a partner in a big City law firm. She gave up the City to follow her long-held dream of becoming a writer. She is the author of the brilliantly successful children's series, THE CHRONICLES OF ANCIENT DARKNESS, the final book of which won the 2010 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize.

An Interview with Michelle Paver
What’s the first book you remember reading?
The first book I remember looking at was a big illustrated book about Stone Age people, although at the time I was too young to read the captions. Two of the first books I actually read were Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson, and a terrifically exciting adventure about a horse, called The Sagebrush Sorrel. I’ve still got all three books.
What’s the greatest influence on your writing?
Concerning literary influences, I’d name two principal ones: J.R.R. Tolkien, who inspired a lifelong love of myth and Anglo-Saxon and Norse literature, and who also deepened my appreciation for trees and forests; and Anthony Trollope, whose page-turning novels taught me much about storytelling.
Concerning non-literary influences, I’d have to name my parents, who ensured that I grew up surrounded by books (despite not having much money at the time), and who always encouraged me to follow my interests and take risks, while somehow managing to instill a bit of commonsense about how far to go!
Typewriter, Word Processor, or pen?
I scribble the first version of each chapter on a pad with a rollerball pen, but it’s such a scrawl that I can only read it while it’s still fresh in my mind, so I try to type it onto the wordprocessor on the same day. Then I go over it a few times on the computer before moving on to the next chapter, and so on.
Name your favourite literary hero and villain
They change from time to time, but here are the ones that have lasted. For heroes, it’s Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings and Hector from The Iliad. For villains, it’s Dracula (the Bram Stoker one, of course), and Stavrogin from The Devils.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Nyasaland (now Malawi), but came to England when I was small, and lived in Essex till I was eight, when we moved to Wimbledon. Apart from a couple of years in central London, I’ve lived there ever since.
Did you enjoy school? What is your most vivid memory of your school years?
In the main I did, but my most vivid memory concerns my one bad year. When I was about eleven, a new girl joined the class and took such a dislike to me that she got everyone else to gang up against me. It doesn’t sound too bad, but it was miserable and very lonely to go through. My mother told me to ignore the lot of them, which I did – and after a pretty rough year, the ringleader left, and things drifted back to normal. But I’ve never forgotten it. And it probably helped make me a writer, because for that year, I retreated into my imagination.
What were the first pieces of writing that you produced?
I wrote my first stories on my mother’s typewriter when I was five. I’ve still got some of them. One was about a rabbit called Hamish and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Another, Ebany the Mouse Goddess, concerned a tribe of mice who burrowed to safety beneath an oncoming glacier. At school I wrote several plays, including one about the murder of Tutankhamun, and another about a family of cavemen.
What jobs did you have before you started writing?
I worked as a solicitor in the City for thirteen years: lots of all-nighters and weekends in the office. The challenge made it fun for a while, but that soon palled. I don’t miss it at all.
If your house was burning down what would you save?
Nothing. I’d just try to get out alive. (And lest anyone think me callous, I should add that I don’t have any pets!)

Click here to read more about Michelle Paver and The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness:

And you can keep in touch with Michelle through Michelle LIVE! – her monthly show on YouTube. You can send her a question in advance, or post a comment on Twitter, YouTube or Instagram live during the show itself! 

Featured books by Michelle Paver

The Crocodile Tomb

The Crocodile Tomb

9+ readers 11+ readers

Author: Michelle Paver Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/08/2015

Hylas and Pirra have found their way to the mysterious land of Egypt in pursuit of the dagger of Koronos, only to find that the Crows have got there first. Led by Hylas's deadly enemy, Telamon, they are determined to recover the legendary blade, by any means necessary. But the dagger now lies buried beyond the reach of mortals. If Hylas and Pirra want it back, they will have to make the most dangerous journey of all - into the realms of death itself...  

ebook of the month

Other books by Michelle Paver

Viper's Daughter

Viper's Daughter

Author: Michelle Paver Format: CD-Audio Release Date: 02/04/2020

Viper's Daughter is the seventh book in the award-winning series that began with Wolf Brother, selling over 3 million copies in 36 territories. Like them it can be read as a standalone story. For two summers Torak and Renn have been living in the Forest with their faithful pack-brother, Wolf. But their happiness is shattered when Renn realizes Torak is in danger - and she's the threat. When she mysteriously disappears, Torak and Wolf brave the Far North to find her. At the mercy of the Sea Mother and haunted by ravenous ice bears, their quest leads them to the Edge of the World. There they must face an enemy more evil than any they've encountered.Viper's Daughter plunges you back into the Stone-Age world of Torak, Renn and Wolf: a world of demons, Hidden People and exhilarating adventure. What rich, dazzling, immersive storytelling ... The best book I have read this year by a country mile. (By a wild arctic length of many wolf lopes, I suppose I should say) HILARY MCKAY Michelle is in a league of her own with this series and what luck for us all that she hasn't finished with Torak, Renn and Wolf's world yet ABI ELPHINSTONE Viper's Daughter is sharp, striking, and loaded with the wisdom of the deep past. I am in awe of Paver's accomplishment SOPHIE ANDERSON Skillful, satisfying, and minutely researched, this powerful evocation of an ancient world is vivid in its imagery and captivating in its excitement MUSWELL HILL CHILDREN'S BOOKSHOP Paver's love for the natural world comes across so strongly in her writing and her imagination takes you on a twisting, fantastic journey all the way to the Edge of the World WATERSTONES NORWICH

Wakenhyrst

Wakenhyrst

Author: Michelle Paver Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 31/10/2019

A Times Best Book of 2019. 'Paver is one of Britain's modern greats. This sinister, gothic chiller shows why' BIG ISSUE, Books of the Year 2019. Something has been let loose... In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father. When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened. Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen - and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past. Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl's longing to fly free by the bestselling author of Dark Matter and Thin Air. Wakenhyrst is an outstanding new piece of story-telling, a tale of mystery and imagination laced with terror. It is a masterwork in the modern gothic tradition that ranges from Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Neil Gaiman and Sarah Perry.

Wakenhyrst

Wakenhyrst

Author: Michelle Paver Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/04/2019

A Times Best Book of 2019. 'Paver is one of Britain's modern greats. This sinister, gothic chiller shows why' BIG ISSUE, Books of the Year 2019. Something has been let loose... In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father. When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened. Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen - and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past. Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl's longing to fly free by the bestselling author of Dark Matter and Thin Air. Wakenhyrst is an outstanding new piece of story-telling, a tale of mystery and imagination laced with terror. It is a masterwork in the modern gothic tradition that ranges from Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Neil Gaiman and Sarah Perry.

Wakenhyrst

Wakenhyrst

Author: Michelle Paver Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/04/2019

A Times Best Book of 2019. 'Paver is one of Britain's modern greats. This sinister, gothic chiller shows why' BIG ISSUE, Books of the Year 2019. Something has been let loose... In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father. When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened. Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen - and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past. Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl's longing to fly free by the bestselling author of Dark Matter and Thin Air. Wakenhyrst is an outstanding new piece of story-telling, a tale of mystery and imagination laced with terror. It is a masterwork in the modern gothic tradition that ranges from Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Neil Gaiman and Sarah Perry.

Wakenhyrst

Wakenhyrst

Author: Michelle Paver Format: Audio disc Release Date: 21/03/2019

A Times Best Book of 2019. A Times Audiobook of the Week. Something has been let loose... In Edwardian Suffolk, a manor house stands alone in a lost corner of the Fens: a glinting wilderness of water whose whispering reeds guard ancient secrets. Maud is a lonely child growing up without a mother, ruled by her repressive father. When he finds a painted medieval devil in a graveyard, unhallowed forces are awakened. Maud's battle has begun. She must survive a world haunted by witchcraft, the age-old legends of her beloved fen - and the even more nightmarish demons of her father's past. Spanning five centuries, Wakenhyrst is a darkly gothic thriller about murderous obsession and one girl's longing to fly free by the bestselling author of Dark Matter and Thin Air. Wakenhyrst is an outstanding new piece of story-telling, a tale of mystery and imagination laced with terror. It is a masterwork in the modern gothic tradition that ranges from Mary Shelley and Bram Stoker to Neil Gaiman and Sarah Perry.

Thin Air The most chilling and compelling ghost story of the year

Thin Air The most chilling and compelling ghost story of the year

Author: Michelle Paver Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/10/2017

The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. The sacred mountain. Biggest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set out to conquer it. But courage can only take them so far. And the higher they climb, the darker it gets.

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