2023 opens with the great news that two of my most important books will be republished in beautiful new editions before the year is out!
‘Granny Was a Buffer Girl’
Granny Was a Buffer Girl, winner of the Carnegie medal and several other awards, was my sixth book, and was published in thirteen different languages. The novel (for 12 + readers) tells the story of three generations of an imaginary Sheffield family. On the day before 18 year old Jess leaves home, the family meets together to tell her the stories of what happened to them when they were about her age – ‘all our secrets, all our love stories, and all our ghost stories, too,’ Mum promises. The story chapters follow the family’s history during 20th century, from factory work to teddy boys and conscription, from dance halls to discos; but more than anything they tell of the tragedies, loyalties, pain and love of an ‘ordinary’ family.
Coincidentally, an interesting and comprehensive feature on Granny Was a Buffer Girl, written by Paul May, was recently published on the blog An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.
‘Children of Winter’
Children of Winter, my third book, (8+ readers) has always been one of my best-selling novels, much loved in schools. It has been translated into several languages and was read on the famous BBC Jackanory spot. It has also been dramatised for schools television.
The novel takes place at the time of the Great Plague in 1655/6, and is set in the village of Eyam, in Derbyshire. Eyam is famous for the fact that the vicar, Mompesson, persuaded the villagers to isolate themselves in order to contain the plague within the village. In my imaginary story, Mistress Tebbutt sends her three children up to an old barn beyond the river, because she is desperate to save their lives. As the children struggle to make a home for themselves and to survive on their own, Catherine, the oldest, feels strong links with the past, but also tries to make sense of what might happen in the future. ‘But what has the future to do with me?’ she wonders. It is almost as if, when I wrote Children of Winter nearly 40 years ago, I too was having premonitions of the recent pandemic.
New UCLan editions
I am really thrilled that the publishers UCLan will be publishing both Granny was a Buffer Girl and Children of Winter this year. Last year UCLan published my new novel, The Haunted Hills, with a gorgeous cover and inside artwork by Tamsin Rosewell. To my great delight, Tamsin is also creating the cover and inside artwork for both Granny was a Buffer Girl and Children of Winter!
Watch this space to see the cover!