The Weirdstone of Talybont

A personal response to the work of Alan Garner


An essay tracing the impact of Alan Garner's books on my life and imagination:

"One Sunday in spring, walking a mountain track in the Brecon Beacons, I sat down on a grassy bank high above the Talybont reservoir and gazed across the valley. Then I looked down at the track at my feet, and a stone looked back at me. A triangular piece of sandstone with an eye-shaped lozenge traced on it, glowing. I picked it up. A shimmering blue line enclosed a smooth-grained reddish oval.

"It was clearly a Weirdstone: the Weirdstone of Talybont. The thought was there at once, immediate and handy. ... I was in South Wales, standing on a real hill with a real stone in my hand, imaginatively inhabiting a children’s book I read for the first time in 1965, which has stayed with me ever since."

About First Light: A celebration of Alan Garner

Edited by Erica Wagner

In celebration of Alan Garner's 80th birthday, 'First Light' is a collaboration by many of the acclaimed writers, artists, archaeologists and historians he has influenced over the years. It is edited by the acclaimed literary journalist and novelist, Erica Wagner, with original contributions from David Almond, Margaret Atwood, John Burnside, Susan Cooper, Helen Dunmore, Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Garner, Paul Kingsnorth, Katherine Langrish, Helen Macdonald, Robert Macfarlane, Gregory Maguire, Neel Mukherjee, Philip Pullman, Ali Smith, Elizabeth Wein, Michael Wood, and many more.

The Weirdstone of Talybont

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