Sam Thompson was shortlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize for his debut novel Communion Town. He has published short stories and has contributed articles to the Times Literary Supplement and The London Review of Books.
His debut children’s book, Wolfstongue is an animal fable that draws on the tradition of La Fontaine’s fables. Sam joined me in the reading corner to tell me more.
Deep in the Forest, the foxes live in an underground city built by their wolf slaves. The foxes’ leader Reynard controls everything with his clever talk. Silas is bullied at school because his words will not come.
He wishes he could live in silence as animals do. One day, Silas helps an injured wolf. Then he enters the secret world of the Forest, where the last remaining wolves fight to survive.
But even there, language is power. Can Silas find his voice in time to help his wolf friends – can he become the Wolfstongue?A lyrical fable about the power of language and the relationship between humans and the natural world. ‘We had a name for a certain human child.
This was the child who would walk side by side with the wolves and would know our silence. The child would be our voice. So that we could live as wolves ought to live.
Free from words. The name for that child was WOLFSTONGUE.’