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1001 Elidor
Added on 29th September 2020

Author Alan Garner
First published 1965
Publisher Collins, London, UK

Action and adventure Magic
1001

Four children must defeat a terrible darkness in the land of Elidor only to find the darkness follows them back to the real world.

Story

One day, four ordinary children playing in a ruined church find themselves swept away from the grimy streets of 1960s Manchester and into the mythical world of Elidor. When they return to their suburban home, along with a unicorn named Findhorn, tasked with guarding Elidor’s four treasures, they are pursued by dark forces determined to regain them.

Why we chose it

A classic fantasy with a twist. Four children find their way into a mythical world but the evil that threatens in that world follows them back into the real world.

Where it came from

Alan Garner (b.1934) was born in Congleton, Cheshire, and brought up in Alderley. Local history and mythology have both been significant influences on his work, which is rooted in the landscape of his childhood. Elidor was his third novel, and the only one to be illustrated, by Charles Keeping. The mythology of Elidor is woven from several different strands, including Norse, Celtic and Anglo-Saxon mythology as well as themes from Arthurian legend and medieval fables. Garner has described the book as the ‘anti-Narnia,’ and unlike the high fantasy of C. S. Lewis, Elidor is grounded in the grit of the real world. The novel was also partly inspired by a visit Garner took to the slum clearances in Salford, where he saw children playing behind a ruined church and demolished houses.

Where it went next

Elidor has been translated into multiple languages and adapted for radio and television for CBBC in 1995. As one of the UK’s most significant and prolific children’s writers, Garner has won and been nominated for many awards, including winning the Carnegie Medal in 1968 for The Owl Service. In 2001 he was awarded an OBE.

Associated stories

Other books by Alan Garner include The Weirdstone of Brisingamen (1960), the first in a trilogy which includes The Moon of Gomrath (1963) and Boneland (2012). He is also the author of The Owl Service (1967) as well as many other novels, anthologies, collections of folklore and fairy-tales, radio, television and stage plays, and a memoir, Where Shall We Run To? (2018).

Added on 29th September 2020

Author Alan Garner
First published 1965
Publisher Collins, London, UK

Action and adventure Magic
1001