David Almond was a virtually unknown author when Cullercoats publisher IRON Press issued his first two collections of stories, Sleepless Nights (1985) and A Kind of Heaven (1997).
In 2013, as part of IRON’s 40th birthday celebrations, a selection of these short stories for adults, alongside two previously unpublished tales. were collected in Nesting.
The stories draw deeply from the Tyneside estate of Almond’s childhood, exploring the themes that would inform his later work, and displaying all the rhythm, lyricism and drive for which he is acclaimed today.
This tale is told by 1 that died at birth by 1 that came into the world in days of endles war & at the moment of disaster.
Billy Dean is a secret child, growing up in the dark heart of Blinkbonny. He has a beautiful young mother and a father who arrives at night carrying the scent of incense and cigarettes. His world is just a bed, some pictures of the holy island and a single locked door, but his father fills his dreams with mysterious tales and dreadful warnings.
I am not cleva, so please forgiv my folts and my mistayks.
Everything changes when Billy’s father vanishes. Billy’s mum brings him out in to the world. And Billy learns the dreadful truth: what happened in Blinkbonny on the day he was born. In time, Billy finds he has the gift of helping to rebuild what is broken. But there’s one exception: a figure beyond healing, who comes looking for Billy. And who is determined on a kind of reckoning.
David Almond’s extraordinary first novel for adults is the story of a child, born of sin, who emerges into a post-industrial, almost apocalyptic world where the force of his innocence is tested to the extreme.
I am Billy Dean. This is the truth. This is my tale.
Meet the author: Nick Higham interviews David Almond about The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean for the BBCs Newschannel’
David Almond’s second collection of short stories for adults, published by IRON Press