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Hans Christian Andersen Award 2010 to David Almond


David Almond

Growing up . . . involves coming to terms with a world in which reality and myth, truth and lies, turn about each other in a creative dance, as they always have and always will.

David Almond


David Almond was born in 1951 in the northeast part of England.  The product of a stable, Roman Catholic family, his childhood was marred by the death of an infant sister and the premature death of his father. He draws on these experiences to create the thread that runs through his writing; i.e., life brings us through a succession of contrasts: good and evil, hope and despair, struggle and triumph, wonder and doubt. His books are filled with the language, landscape, and history of northeastern England, a place where real and imaginary characters and real and imaginary places co-exist.

Almond was educated at local schools in Felling and Sunderland and at St. Joseph’s Catholic Grammar School in Hebburn. He studied English and American Literature at the University of East Anglia and worked for some time as a teacher in a primary school in Gateshead. His early work spoke to an adult audience, but with the novel Skellig (1998), he discovered a new audience and a new voice. Skellig is the story of a dirty, homeless creature who is discovered by two children who protect and nurture him. They draw power from each other, allowing each to soar into a world of self-discovery.

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Skellig and Almond’s subsequent work have received international acclaim and been the subject of academic study. He has published ten more novels for young people and a children’s play, Wild Girl, Wild Boy. Other novels have been adapted for the stage, TV and film. His characters display youthful imagination and creativity as they actively engage in the natural and social world around them. Adults are depicted as sources of love and stability, but it is the young people who make their own choices and discover who they are themselves. 

Almond’s work has a universal resonance and appeal. While grounded in everyday backgrounds and experiences, the characters are drawn to amazing revelations and often to mysterious events or surreal creatures. Almond’s penchant for illustrating truth through contradiction continues to be woven through his stories: melding the personal with the global, making distant terror immediate, and finding hope from despair.

Selected bibliography

Skellig (1998) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

The Fire Eaters (2003) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

Clay (2005) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

Jackdaw Summer (2008) London: Hodder Children’s Books.

The Savage. Illus. by Dave McKean (2008) London: Walker Children’s Books.


About the Award

The Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury of the international Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) announces that David Almond from the United Kingdom is the winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Author Award and Jutta Bauer from Germany is the winner of the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award.

The Andersen medals and diplomas will be presented to the winners at the international IBBY congress in Santiago de Compostela, Spain on Saturday, 11 September 2010. 

The Award, considered the most prestigious in international children’s literature, is given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People to a living author and illustrator whose complete works are judged to have made lasting contributions to children’s literature.

In awarding the 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Medal for writing to David Almond, the jury has recognized the unique voice of a creator of magic realism for children. Almond captures his young readers’ imagination and motivates them to read, think and be critical.  His use of language is sophisticated and reaches across the ages. 

The 2010 Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustration recognizes Jutta Bauer as a powerful narrator who blends real life with legend through her pictures.  The jury admired her philosophical approach, originality, creativity as well as her ability to communicate with young readers.

David Almond was selected from 28 authors for the award. The four finalists were: Ahmad Reza Ahmadi from Iran, Bartolomeu Campos de Queiros from Brazil, Lennart Hellsing from Sweden and Louis Jensen from Denmark

Jutta Bauer was selected from 27 illustrators nominated. The four finalists were Carll Cneut from Belgium, Etienne Delessert from Switzerland, Svjetlan Junakovic from Croatia and Roger Mello from Brazil.

The other author candidates were Liliana Bodoc (Argentina), Heinz Janisch (Austria), Pierre Coran (Belgium), Brian Doyle (Canada), Liu Xianping (China), Maria Pyliotou (Cyprus), Pavel Šrut (Czech Republic), Hannu Mäkelä (Finland), Jean-Claude Mourlevat (France), Peter Härtling (Germany), Loty Petrovits-Andrutsopulou (Greece), Eoin Colfer (Ireland), Shuntaro Tanikawa (Japan), Alberto Blanco (Mexico), Dashdondog Jamba (Mongolia), Peter van Gestel (Netherlands), Bjørn Sortland (Norway), Ján Uličiansky (Slovak Republic), Tone Pavček (Slovenia), Jordi Sierra i Fabra (Spain), Muzaffer İzgü (Turkey), Evangeline Ledi Barongo (Uganda),  and Walter Dean Myers (USA).

The other illustrator candidates were Luis Scafati (Argentina), Linda Wolfsgruber (Austria), Marie-Louise Gay (Canada), Jiří Šalamoun (Czech Republic), Lilian Brøgger (Denmark), Salla Savolainen (Finland), Grégoire Solotareff (France), Diatsenta Parissi (Greece), P. J. Lynch (Ireland), Akiko Hayashi (Japan), Kęstutis Kasparavičius (Lithuania), Fabricio Vanden Broeck (Mexico), Harrie Geelen (Netherlands), Thore Hansen (Norway), Nickolay Popov (Russia), Peter Uchnár (Slovakia), Ančka Gošnik Godec (Slovenia), Xan López Domínguez (Spain), Anna-Clara Tidholm (Sweden), Can Göknil (Turkey), Michael Foreman (United Kingdom) and Eric Carle (USA).



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