Children’s author David Almond has donated his archive to Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books.
The collection includes annotated manuscripts and notebooks relating to Skellig, which won the Carnegie Medal in 1998, as well as notebooks with plot line ideas for The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, A Song for Ella Grey and The Savage. There is also an almost complete, unfinished novel.
Almond starts his writing process by writing in a sketchbook, jotting down key scenes, characters and motifs. He then drafts the story on a computer and prints out his manuscript after the first few chapters to make notes or changes. His editor and partner also suggest revisions.
“The National Centre for Children’s Books acquiring my collection just seems natural; Seven Stories is a wonderful North East institution and this is where it should be,” said Almond. “I am a North Eastern writer who writes about the North East, where better could it be?”
Pieces from the collection will be on display in a new exhibition entitled “Where Your Wings Were, Journeys with David Almond” which will open at the National Centre for Children’s Books in June 2018 as part of the Great Exhibition of the North.
Seven Stories acquired the collection thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Collecting Cultures programme. Sarah Lawrance, collections director, said: “David Almond is an extraordinary writer and his archive reflects that. When you turn the pages of one of his notebooks you feel as though you’re getting a glimpse inside the writer’s head – seeing the story take shape before your eyes. We’re really grateful for the support from the Heritage Lottery Fund that has enabled us to keep the archive in the North East.”
The centre has also acquired the archives of children’s poets John Agard and Grace Nichols.