In this collection of lectures and essays, Allan Garner shows how, over the years, his thinking and writing have developed. They also demonstrate the wide range of his concerns and his scholarship: language, literature, education, mental health, anthropology, archaeology, myth, the spiritual quest, philosophy, music and film. Running through it all is his concern for excellence, innovation and humour, based on the effect of his childhood in a rural working-class family of craftsmen, and the combining of their standards with the academic world and his education as a classicist. The book is a poetic autobiography, starting with the description of his hearing himself declared dead at the age of six, and leading to the inevitability of his novel, "Strandloper". In the final essay, from which the book takes its title, he describes how "Strandloper" came to be written, and shows how all his skills were demanded to bring this work about, and how they transcended his previous expreience to prepare him for the work that lies ahead. Alan Garner is the author of "The Owl Service", "The Stone Book Quartet", "Elidor" and "Red Shift".
Alan Garner was born in Congleton, Cheshire, in 1934. His began writing his first novel at the age of 22 and is renowned as one of Britain's outstanding writers. He has won many prizes for his writing, and, in 2001 he was awarded the OBE for services to literature. He holds two honorary doctorates and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London. In 2004 he co-founded The Blackden Trust http://www.theblackdentrust.org.uk/