Alan Garner (October 17, 1934 - ..)
Born: 17th October, 1934
Nationality: English
Profession/Occupation: Novelist
Region: Congleton, England, "Thursbitch", "Boneland", "Elidor", "Strandloper", "The Moon of Gomrath", "The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley", "Red Shift"

Alan Garner Facts


Alan Garner, (born October 17, 1934, Congleton, Cheshire, England), English writer whose works, noted for their idiosyncratic style, were rooted in the myth and legend of the British Isles.

Garner attended local schools before spending two years in the Royal Artillery and studying at Magdalen College, Oxford. His first book, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen: A Tale of Alderley (1960), is a fantasy tale in which twins Colin and Susan must contend with supernatural forces after discovering that they possess a magical gem. It is set in Alderley Edge in Garner's native Cheshire. He released a sequel, The Moon of Gomrath (1963), in which the children must again face dark magical threats. In 2012 he issued the final installment of the trilogy, Boneland, which details the adult Colin's quest to find his sister. The books draw on such mythological motifs as the "sleeping king," a legendary hero waiting to be awakened in a time of crisis, and the "wild hunt," a group of ghastly riders condemned to hunt for eternity.

Further novels include Elidor (1965), about four children tasked with protecting magical items, and The Owl Service (1967; television film 1969), which retells a story from the Welsh mythological compendium the Mabinogion. Red Shift (1973) follows the lives of three men living in different centuries, all of whom come into possession of a magical ax. The novel elliptically references the ballad of Tam Lin, a man rescued from the fairies by his paramour. Strandloper (1996) is based on the true story of an Englishman who lived with Australian Aborigines for more than 30 years. Thursbitch (2003) intertwines events taking place in the titular English valley in the 18th and 21st centuries. The Stone Book Quartet--comprising The Stone Book (1976), Granny Reardun (1977), Tom Fobble's Day (1977), and The Aimer Gate (1978)--is a series of fictionalized episodes from the lives of Garner's ancestors.

Garner retold legends and folktales in the collections Alan Garner's Fairy Tales of Gold (1979), The Lad of the Gad (1980), A Bag of Moonshine (1986), Once upon a Time (1993), and Collected Folk Tales (2011). Other works include The Voice That Thunders: Essays and Lectures (1997) and The Well of the Wind (1998), a meandering fairy tale for younger children. Garner also wrote radio, television, and stage plays. The opera libretto Potter Thompson (1975), another riff on the legend of the "sleeping hero," was commissioned by a children's choral group.

Garner was created Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 2001. His archives were housed at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, U.S.

Top 15 Alan Garner quotes

I don't think I've ever frightened myself before when writing, but there were areas where there was terror, as though I was looking into somewhere that I didn't know existed before, and it frightened me.
My attitude is that if anybody of any age wants to read a book, let them, but I do think that no child would want to read 'Boneland.'
My background is deep and set in deep time, and in a narrow space, oral traditions going back a long, long time, which I inherited by osmosis.
Long time
I've learned never to try and force words to come.
My primary tongue, I would call North-West Mercian.
I loathe crowds. I especially don't like cities. A city involves biomass. And biomass gets to me.
I learnt that I must never finish a book with nothing else to do.
My feeling is that writing is, for me, a pathological condition. That could sound like a mystical experience, and it may be a mystical experience, but I have learnt just to go with it.
I love research so much that I do an enormous amount; it helps put off the moment of starting to write the story.
I love
The thing that I was brought up to prize above everything else is the intellect. There is no problem that the intellect cannot solve, but it never had an original thought. Originality is the realm of the unconscious.
Everything else
No problem
As far as the world was concerned, from 1979 to 1996, I didn't publish any original material; it just wasn't there.
As far as
My mother read nursery rhymes to me, and my grandmother told me folk stories, but as a child I had no interest in writing whatsoever.
No interest
My great-grandfather was a self-taught man, and his library was extraordinary. I read the lot.
Everything I have ever written has been in the same chair, in the same room.
If you are going to write, nothing will stop you, and if you are not going to write, nothing will make you.

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