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Daemon Voices On Stories and Storytelling

Written by Philip Pullman

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Daemon Voices On Stories and Storytelling Review

Featured Books for Young Adults Literature Reference Books

This rich feast of essays on storytelling, story-writing and story-tellers will inspire writers and enlighten Pullman fans

Imparting wisdom from across two decades, Philip Pullman’s Dæmon Voices shares a generous banquet of thought-provoking insights into the art of story-telling and Pullman’s personal processes and passions.




As the book’s editor, Simon Mason, writes in his introduction, Pullman is “interested in, above all, human nature, how we live and love and fight and betray and console one another. How we explain ourselves to ourselves,” and this all-encompassing ethos is reflected here, with essays covering everything from the responsibilities of the storyteller, how stories work, and authors’ intentions, to William Blake, Oliver Twist, and writing fantasy realistically. The tone is lively, ablaze with clear-sighted wit, no matter how complex the subject, with many pieces having been delivered at conferences.




One of my personal favourites is “Let’s Write it in Red” which begins with an anecdote about a train journey during which the author witnessed children demonstrating the “two great principles of storytelling”. The first principle is that there are rules - among them stories must begin and have unity, and storytellers mustn’t be afraid of the obvious. Stories must have a destination too, and storytellers “must design the path so that it leads to the destination most surely, and with the maximum effect.” The second principle relates to form: “if the story is a path, then to follow it you have to ignore quite ruthlessly all the things that tempt you away from it. Your business as a storyteller is with the path, not the wood.” To these, Pullman adds a third - knowledge. Storytellers should “become more interested in your subject-matter than in the way you appear to others to be dealing with it.” With each of the 32 essays embodying these astute principles, Dæmon Voices is a trove of enlightenment, and entertaining to boot.

Recommended for 16+ readers.

Joanne Owen

Daemon Voices On Stories and Storytelling Synopsis

In over 30 essays, written over 20 years, one of the world's great story-tellers meditates on story-telling. Warm, funny, generous, entertaining and, above all, deeply considered, they offer thoughts on a wide variety of topics, including the origin and composition of Philip's own stories, the craft of writing and the story-tellers who have meant the most to Philip. The art of story-telling is everywhere present in the essays themselves, in the instantly engaging tone, the vivid imagery and striking phrases, the resonant anecdotes, the humour and learnedness. Together, they are greater than the sum of their parts: a single, sustained engagement with story and story-telling.

Daemon Voices On Stories and Storytelling Press Reviews

As if I'm sneaking into a year of lectures and classes with one of the masters of this art . . . Pullman shares advice, secrets, thoughts in such a down-to-earth, friendly manner, it almost makes me want to weep - Guardian, Best Books of 2017

Pullman is eloquent on the craft and power of storytelling - Observer

A fascinating tour of Pullman's teeming imagination and an inestimable illumination of the writing life - Financial Times

Luminously written - TLS

Pullman is as fine a thinker as he is a storyteller. It's almost not fair . . . abundant wisdom, provocative notions, and illuminating insights - Kirkus starred review

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781910989548
Publication date: 01/10/2020
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781910200964
Publication date: 26/10/2017
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781910200964
Publication date: 26th October 2017
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 496 pages
Suitable for: YA readers
Genres: Gift Books, Literature, Reference Books

About Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for Northern Lights (and the reader-voted ‘Carnegie of Carnegies’ for the best children’s book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honour of ...

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