For centuries, the Tower of London has been home to a group of famous avian residents: the ravens. Each year they are seen by millions of visitors, and they have become as integral a part of the Tower as its ancient stones themselves.
But their role is even more important than that – legend has it that if the ravens should ever leave, the Tower will crumble into dust, and great harm will befall the kingdom.
One man is personally responsible for ensuring that such a disaster never comes to pass – the Ravenmaster. The current holder of the position is Yeoman Warder Christopher Skaife, and in this fascinating, entertaining and touching book he memorably describes the ravens’ formidable intelligence, their idiosyncrasies and their occasionally wicked sense of humour.
The 4thcoming series is all about introducing you to our authors. If you’ve ever wondered what an author is currently reading, listening to or what their writing ritual is, then we’ve got all those answers for you. Find out more about Chris here.
Name: Christopher James Skaife.
Occupation: Yeoman Warder and Ravenmaster, HM Tower of London.
What you’re reading: I have two books that I re-read on a regular basis. H for Hawk by Helen MacDonald and Mind of a Raven by Bernd Heinrich, basically they are my bibles.
What you’re listening to: Kate Bush, I’ve always been a fan.
What you’re watching: Killing Eve, Love it!
Favourite word(s): Discombobulate, it explains my presence of mind on occasions.
Favourite song: I’m an 80’s child and a ‘New Romantic’ at heart. So, if I had to pick one it would be Gold by Spandau Ballet.
Living person you most admire: The great Sir David Attenborough.
The trait you most deplore in yourself: Not Listening!
The trait you most deplore in others: Not Listening!
The book you wish you’d written: Harry Potter, I’m a super fan.
The book everyone should read: There is a great book by Carl Safina called ‘Beyond Words’ that talks about what animals think and feel. It’s definitely worth a read.
Writing ritual: I get up super early in the morning when all around me is quiet, put on my headphones, with of course Kate Bush softly playing in the background and stare at a screen until something pops into my head.
Best advice ever received: Marry that girl, she’s a good one.
If you could change one thing about the world: To stop mankind from destroying the world.
Think of something beautiful: A Raven
The most memorable sentence you’ve ever read: Once upon a time…
If you weren’t writing: I would be doing my day job as Ravenmaster and Yeoman Warder of the Tower of London.
Best place to write? Raven HQ, which is in my living room tucked away in the ancients walls of the Tower of London.
The Ravenmaster is out on 4th October.
Find Chris on Twitter.
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