Kevin Crossley-Holland

Author, translator, poet...

Reviews

My writing includes poetry, translation, historical fiction for children, retellings of traditional tale, picture books, radio drama, libretti and anthologies. These several reviews give a flavour of what critics have written about them.

Poetry

'Poems to taste with the tongue and eye of the mind.'
Herbert Lomas (Ambit)


'Crossley-Holland uncovers not only words but an entire landscape which haunts and is rich in echoes.'
Helen Dunmore (Observer)


'What enthralls us when we arrive at the coast is neither land nor sea but that narrow flux of both of them called the shore. It is the shore which does most of the talking, which utters, which we listen to. At first it seems to say the same things over and over again, and is mesmeric. Then it becomes both soothing and threatening, musical and dissonant, inspiring and wretched, easy to understand and complex as it articulates things which cannot be heard in any other place. Moored Man interprets this watery voice in a wonderful manner. In a sequence of wild, desperate, beautiful and original statements the seashore tells how it can never get away, how it has struggled in its liquid chains, and how it is both captive and yet free. Moored Man may be tied to the edge but he is never stationary. He is all movement. He may be mud-dull but yet he is a marvelous orator. Although below the rocks, he is a visionary. This is a fine poem. There is a tragic loneliness in it reminiscent of that in Ted Hughes’s Crow. Kevin Crossley-Holland’s Moored Man is the voice of that ultimate geography which separates land from water. He has listened to what it says for the best part of his life and is able to give us this exciting translation..'
Ronald Blythe on Moored Man


Myth


'Stately or bucolic, heroic or comic, romantic or gross, horrific or gentle, deeply ironic or deeply moving, the myths here retold yield up their mood and substance.'
Gwyn Jones on The Norse Myths (Times Literary Supplement)


For Children


'This is astonishing... a book that lasts has to create a world so real that you can run your fingertips over its walls, feel its morning frost bite at your throat, and remember the people who lived there for a lifetime. Crossley-Holland has done it and I am so, so jealous.'
Ann Fine on The Seeing-Stone (Children's Laureate 2001-2003)


'...as bright and as vivid as pictures in a Book of Hours. Deep scholarship, high imagination, and great gifts of storytelling have gone into this; I was spellbound.'
Philip Pullman on The Seeing-Stone (Guardian Children's Book Supplement)


'With King of the Middle March, Kevin Crossley-Holland triumphantly concludes his trilogy about the two Arthurs...Arthur's breathless diary entries have an immediacy and wonder.'
Jan Mark (Times Educational Supplement)


'the multi-layered conclusion to a most original trilogy... an exciting medieval adventure relevant to today's conflicts of belief.' (Between Christians and Muslims)
Lesley Agnew on King of the Middle March (Times Educational Supplement)


'A journey full of wonders, a journey into a different time, a journey into a famous story, told so brilliantly that you can taste and smell it on every page... The Arthur of this story moves softly into one's heart.'
Cornelia Funke, author of The Thief Lord


'It can't be long before the name Kevin Crossley-Holland is uttered in the same sentence as 'national institution'. His writing is evocative, lively and sharp; he brings history to life on the page so well that readers barely realise they are learning as well as enjoying fiction... There are moments when your eyes will brim with tears and when you feel inspired by such and audacious exercise to praise God. Throughout, you will be swept away.'
Birmingham Post on Gatty's Tale


'Kevin Crossley-Holland's depiction of the medieval setting is meticulous, but ultimately this is a novel about heart and song, with the capacity to lift the spirits and move to tears.'
The Bookseller on Gatty's Tale


'As ever, Kevin Crossley-Holland writes with his special blend of the precise, the poetic and the demotic, and imbues his tale with the colour, freshness and vigour of a Renaissance painting. And, again, his instinct for that characteristic medieval amalgam of the spiritual and the earthbound is unerring. But this is Gatty's book. Graceful, homely, profound, beautiful, strong, dignified, and Everywoman: a great literary creation. Her presence lingers, like a perfume.'
Chris Stephenson Carousel on Gatty's Tale


'Crossley-Holland retells old folk tales better than anyone else alive.'
Lynn Gardner The Guardian


'A ravishing object and a touching poetic tale.'
The Sunday Times on Heartsong


'This is a spectacular book ... it is part social history, part mystery and part haunting love story ... A quiet, heart-soaring triumph.
The Big Issue on Heartsong


'Crossley-Holland's limpid prose matches Ray's diaphanous watercolour images perfectly, evoking 18th-century Venice in all its gaudy grandeur and bringing to life someone who would not otherwise have been even a footnote in history'
The Financial Times on Heartsong


For Radio


Arthur's Knight (Six radio plays)
'This ambitious new venture, a series of six hour-long programmes Arthur's Knight, was written by the well-established poet and broadcaster Kevin Crossley-Holland... It triumphantly compels belief. On account of its originality of conception, high seriousness of theme, depth of perception, assured organisation and the rightness of its language, Crossley-Holland's play is the finest of all Arthurian radio dramas... It might also be quite reasonably argued that Crossley-Holland's Arthur's Knight is the finest twentieth-century Arthurian play in any dramatic genre.'
Roger Simpson Radio Camelot (D. S. Brewer, 2008)


Translation from Anglo-Saxon


'The poem (Beowulf) has at last found its translator... supremely well done.'
Charles Causley


As Editor

'An exuberant celebration of the storytelling impulse, and a marvellous introduction to the rich and varied storytelling traditions of the British Isles.'
Folktales of the British Isles (Times Literary Supplement)


'This is one of the most delightful anthologies to be published in years. It's beautifully illustrated and the poems... echo with charm and sheer joy.'
Sir Trevor McDonald of Light Unlocked


Memoir

'A lovely, poignant book, not wasting a word and evoking place in a deep way'
Archibishop Rowan Williams on The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood


'An absorbing account of where, why, and how a variously talented writer gradually came to realise that that was what he wanted to become.'
The Hidden Roads: A Memoir of Childhood (Times Literary Supplement)