David Albertyn was born in Durban, South Africa in 1983. His father was involved in the anti-apartheid struggle, and for his efforts was served a banning order by the apartheid government for five years. From a young age David learned the importance of standing up to injustice even if you are not on the receiving end of that injustice.
When David was eight years old his next-door-neighbour was stabbed to death outside his front door. In the wake of the murder, his family immigrated to Toronto, Canada. They joined relatives there in 1993.
David began writing stories when he was six years old. In his final years in South Africa he was taken by Tolkien and Greek and Norse myths. In Canada he was introduced to Michael Crichton and Frank Herbert. David read, and re-read, these early influences voraciously, trying to emulate the thrills, wonder, and vast scope he experienced in these stories in his own writing. Though he never made it much further than a few chapters, he did make it further each time he attempted a novel. At Queen’s University, pursuing a Film Studies major, he enrolled in creative writing courses that would significantly develop his writing ability. It was in these courses that he began what would become his first completed novel. This time he was inspired by the content of works by Chinua Achebe and Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, and the style of works by Hilary Mantel and JM Coetzee, while trying to maintain the entertaining, dynamic, and epic qualities of his earlier influences. David’s goal then, as it is now, was to write visceral stories that are both thrilling and meaningful.
After nine years of working on this book, David finally felt that it was ready to submit, only to learn that it was much too long to be published – at least for a first-time author. Regretting that he hadn’t bothered to find out what the parameters of the publishing industry were before he spent his twenties writing an unpublishable novel, he continued to pitch the book for eighteen months, whittling it down and rewriting it the entire time. Though he didn’t sell the novel, the intensity of those eighteen months greatly improved the quality of his work and how fast he could produce it.
His second novel took him a year to write. Still with barely any contacts in the publishing industry, he doubted he would fare any better than he did the first time around. But a chance encounter brought him to his agent, who connected immediately with David’s work and signed him as a client. However, even with an agent, David failed to find a publisher for his second novel.
While David tried with his first novel to write the book he most wanted to read, and tried to write what he thought the industry most wanted from him with his second, in his third novel he tried to combine these two concepts: something that was meaningful to him and met all the demands of marketability. The result was Undercard, which immediately resonated with David’s Canadian publisher, House of Anansi, and went on to resonate with his international publishers, HarperCollins Germany and HarperCollins France.
While writing was David’s first passion, sports was his second. He competed in a variety of them growing up, running being his primary focus. In university he switched from track and field to tennis, a sport he had always loved but had never pursued seriously. His day job since graduating university has been as a tennis coach, a profession he has grown to love. David has coached at many tennis clubs throughout the Greater Toronto Area, but has stepped back from such work since Undercard was sold to devote more time to his writing.
In Undercard David has combined all his interests and influences, and infused them with scrupulous research and the pulse of the times we live in. He hopes you enjoy it.