Sarah Lean chooses a book that transcends fashion.
The book I wish I had written is Skellig by David Almond. The first line, ‘I found him in the garage on a Sunday afternoon’ is genius. I tell everyone to read the book, to go in that garage and find what Michael finds there, to meet the inimitable Skellig. The characters are alive, the writing authentic and lyrical, and the story delivers at every detail.
I read all of Almond’s books while I was studying for an MA in Creative & Critical Writing, including Heaven Eyes, another seamless blend of life and other-worldliness. A line in it near the end, ‘She came across the wasteland up above the river’, blew me away as I began to understand how a story could be threaded together. I have never cried so much for joy and at the triumph of the storyteller to deliver such impact.
Skellig inspired me to put aside any ideas of writing what might have been fashionable at the time, to pursue my own desire to write what was in my heart. I poured all my efforts into finding a simple way of writing what I had to say. I’m not sure I would have become an author if it wasn’t for Skellig lighting my way.
Sarah Lean’s latest book The Good Bear is published by Simon and Schuster, with illustrations by Fiona Woodcock, 978-1471194672, £12.99 hbk.
Skellig by David Almond is published by Hodder Children’s Books, 978-0340997048, £7.99 pbk