Connecting Conversations in London

Two masters of their craft, award-winning children’s author David Almond and author and illustrator Quentin Blake, will talk about the drive to write and the visual expression of emotion with experts from the field of psychoanalysis at two forthcoming Connecting Conversations events in London the new year.

On 11 January David Almond, whose award winning novel Skellig has been made into an opera and will be released as a film adaptation in 2009, will talk to child and adult psychotherapist Viviane Green at Swiss Cottage Library, NW3.

“Like all writers, I’m driven to write, and that’s because something inside me is demanding to be written, to be given form,” says Almond, whose latest book, Jackdaw Summer, was released last month. “I think I’ve begun to understand what this ‘something’ is, and I see how it has shaped so much of my work. But a lot remains mysterious, and I continue to be surprised by what emerges. Maybe this is why writing can often seem like dreaming, and why imagining can seem like remembering.’

“Psychotherapists are naturally interested in people’s interior lives and how their hopes, fears and wishes shape the world they see,” Green says. “David Almond’s fiction explores these themes in a haunting way. He has an uncanny ability to write in spare and poetic prose how gritty physical reality is transformed by the power of the child’s imagination.’

On 8 February Quentin Blake, one of the UK’s best-known artists and authors, illustrator of books such as Clement Freud’s Grimble at Christmas and Daniel Pennac’s The Rights of the Reader, discusses his work with psychoanalyst Avi Shmueli at the Anna Freud Centre, NW3.

“I have illustrated picture-books and stories for young people, and also invented them; more recently I have produced sequences of pictures for hospitals for patients both young and old,” says Blake. “What I think might be interesting to discuss in this context – and about which I would be interested to hear a comment from another point of view – is the search for the suitable fable or metaphor, the ways in which feeling and energy can be expressed in a visual form, and what the benefits of any of that might be, in varying circumstances, beyond immediate distraction. Perhaps this also relates to the nature of humour.’

“This is an exciting opportunity to talk to a master of his art about his creative process and the use of metaphor,” feels Shmueli. “Quentin Blake has a profound ability to capture the multiple layers of his characters and integrate these in a way that enables readers of all ages to find meaning and insight in his stories and illustrations.”

Both events are part of the Connecting Conversations children’s books series of events bringing together psychoanalysis and other fields. Forthcoming events include authors Elisabeth Russell Taylor, Gillian Slovo and David Grossman. For more details visit

David Almond’s Official Web Site
Quentin Blake’s Official Web Site

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