English author Alan Garner is rooted in the language, places, and myths of his birthplace. Born in Congleton, Cheshire, on October 17, 1934, to a family of country people and craftsmen, he grew up in the village of Alderley Edge, where his ancestors had lived for generations. His village, now a suburb of Manchester, took its name from a great, wooded escarpment, a landmark on the Cheshire plain. Garner spent many childhood days exploring the land around Alderley Edge and getting to know the people of the countryside. Several severe illnesses, including a year long bout with meningitis, forced him to spend months in bed, where he read extensively and developed his imagination.
Garner attended Manchester Grammar School, then one of the most demanding schools in the country. There he found that home and school did not mix, that his dialect and even his way of thinking were not acceptable at school. Nevertheless, he rose to the challenge of the competitive environment and became a champion sprinter. After service in the Royal Artillery, he became the first in his family to attend a university. He studied classical languages at Magdalen College, Oxford. He left before taking his degree, but not before deciding to devote his life to writing. Returning to Cheshire, Garner moved into a medieval timbered house only a few miles from where he grew up. Here he has raised his own family.
The sense of dislocation and alienation that resulted from Garner's...
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