David Almond Review

The Sixth Form Creative Writing students, on the 10th of March, were privileged to have multi-award winning Young Adult novelist David Almond visit BGS on Thursday 10th March. He is best known for Carnegie Prize Winning novel Skellig published in 1998, but has also more recently been adapting some of his other novels for the stage. The students had many questions for him, ranging from ‘what were your first memories of writing?’ to more technical questions about the inherent differences in writing for stage compared to writing for the page. The students, who are currently in the midst of completing their A2 Creative Writing coursework portfolios, lapped up his erudite responses, spoken in his famously mellow Northumbrian accent.

The extended writing exercise he led for the students was focussed on the fact that the imagination is a constant facet of being human which is just waiting to be tapped in to.

Almond, the most influential Young Adult novelist of our time, brought an array of his own personal notebooks and stressed the importance of how the process of writing is a messy one, and not the refined and precise act we might at first think. The students found this most reassuring, and benefited from his expertise and encouragement.

The students were treated to a unique insight into how he wrote his most recent novel, A Song for Ella Grey, inspired by the myth of Orpheus, and were able to ask him directly about its influences and inspirations.

Of the abundant literary events and opportunities offered to students at BGS, the students who attended this event knew this surely was amongst the most inspiring and useful, and will remember Almond’s words of wisdom for the rest of their writing lives.

Andrew Jamison