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Alan Garner

  • English novelist
  • Born October 17, 1934

Alan Garner (born 17 October 1934) is an English novelist best known for his children's fantasy novels and his retellings of traditional British folk tales. Much of his work is rooted in the landscape, history and folklore of his native county of Cheshire, North West England, being set in the region and making use of the native Cheshire dialect. Born in Congleton, Garner grew up around the nearby town of Alderley Edge, and spent much of his youth in the wooded area known locally as "The Edge", where he gained an early interest in the folklore of the region.


My great-grandfather was a self-taught man, and his library was extraordinary. I read the lot.




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 mother read nursery rhymes to me, and my grandmother told me folk stories, but as a child I had no interest in writing whatsoever.




If you are going to write, nothing will stop you, and if you are not going to write, nothing will make you.




I've learned never to try and force words to come.




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.




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.




Everything I have ever written has been in the same chair, in the same room.




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.




As far as the world was concerned, from 1979 to 1996, I didn't publish any original material; it just wasn't there.




My primary tongue, I would call North-West Mercian.




I love research so much that I do an enormous amount; it helps put off the moment of starting to write the story.




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.



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