More books by Siobhan Dowd
PublisherRandom House Children's Books
Publication date2nd March 2006
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A Swift Pure Cry
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Julia Eccleshare's comment:
Winner of the Branford Boase Award 2007. A superb first novel, beautifully written, deeply moving and full of heartbreak. When Shell Talent’s mother dies everything around her begins to fall to pieces. Tired of looking after her younger brother and sister and bored by the routines of school and church, Shell skips school and hangs around with her friends smoking and cracking jokes and looking for chances that will confirm their growing up. But what follows is not a simple transition into adulthood but the tragedy of Shell’s hidden pregnancy and the stillbirth of her baby. Siobhan Dowd writes without judgement but with enormous sympathy and understanding capturing Shell’s confusion and the hypercritical and chaotic thinking of the small Irish community in which she is growing up. What the judges’ said:‘this novel stood out for it entertaining and expertly crafted style: a fluent, lyrical sprightliness which leavens tragic events with humanity and even, in places, humour’
Siobhan sadly only wrote 4 books in total before her tragic death from cancer in 2007. They were Solace of the Road, Bog Child, A Swift Pure Cry and The London Eye Mystery but her memory lives on in a Trust that has been set up in her name as well as through her writing.
Who is Julia Eccleshare ?
SynopsisA Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd
After Shell's mother dies, her father descends into alcoholic mourning and she is left to care for her younger brother and sister. She develops relationship with Declan. But he leaves to America. Shell finds herself pregnant and the centre of a scandal. This book features a story of love and loss, religious belief and spirituality.
About The Author
'The protagonists in my stories aren’t human rights heroes in the conventional sense. They are ordinary people living in England and Ireland who find extraordinary ways to overcome the difficulties in their lives and for me that’s the essence of any good story: it’s where the ordinary meets the extraordinary.' –Siobhan Dowd
'In 2007 Siobhan Dowd was voted one of the twenty-five British writers for the future (only three were children’s writers). Siobhan is still very much a writer for the future. Everybody should read her.' –David Fickling, the author's publisher
Siobhan Dowd was born in London to Irish parents. She spent much of her youth visiting the family cottage in Aglish, County Waterford and later the family home in Wicklow Town. A Swift Pure Cry, Siobhan's first novel, was published by David Fickling Books, in March 2006. In May 2007, it won many children’s book awards including the prestigious Brandford Boase Award. Her second novel, The London Eye Mystery (a story for 9 to 12-year-olds), was published by David Fickling Books on 7 June 2007 and her third novel, Bog Child (a story for teenagers), appeared in February 2008. Her fourth novel, Solace of the Road, has just been published – Feb 2009.
Tragically Siobhan died on 21st August 2007 aged 47; She had been receiving treatment for advanced breast cancer for 3 years. Her memory lives on in a Trust set up to help disadvantaged children in the UK and Ireland discover and experience the joy of reading. The Siobhan Dowd Trust was the dying bequest of this celebrated children’s author. Just before her tragic death she personally and energetically supervised its foundation, to support, in all ways possible, disadvantaged young readers in the UK and Ireland. It was one of the very last things on Siobhan’s mind and clearly for her the most pressing cause in our society today.
The aims of the Trust are simple and direct:
To take stories to our children without stories.
To bring the joy of reading to our children deprived of reading.
To bring books to our children deprived of books.
To fund disadvantaged readers where there is no funding, and to support disadvantaged readers where there is no support.
To fund and support any persons or organizations who help disadvantaged young readers.
The Trustees believe that the best and truest way faithfully to observe Siobhan’s last wish is to invite applications from persons or organizations in the UK or Ireland who need funding to directly help disadvantaged young readers. The Trustees will take a few months to consider and evaluate applications and then begin to disburse awards in the way that best seems to follow Siobhan’s wishes.
By the terms of Siobhan’s will, all royalty income derived from her published novels and any posthumously published work will go to the Trust.
The Trustees believe that Siobhan’s generosity will be the seed of something much larger, and so the Trust also welcomes donations from the public. The aspiration is to help as many disadvantaged young people as possible.
The Trustees are in no doubt of the importance of this bequest and its fundamental urgency for our children and for the future culture of the British Isles and Ireland. We may think we live in a literate society but, as Siobhan was well aware, there are too many places in our own ‘house’ where children are denied the opportunity to read. This is a charity that must begin at home, a home that, like Siobhan’s life, spans both sides of the Irish Sea.
A brief note on Siobhan:
Siobhan spent most of her career looking after writers. Working for PEN she fought to help writers silenced by oppressive regimes around the world. Closer to home, she did all she could to get reading material into the hands of disadvantaged young people from all walks of life, Siobhan co-founded and then ran the Readers & Writers Programme for English PEN which encouraged disadvantaged children to read by sending books and writers into schools as well as working with other institutions such as prisons. Siobhan also encouraged youngsters from the Romany culture to record their history. Her support for, and encouragement of, her fellow-writers was inexhaustible.
In some ways perhaps she sacrificed her own brimming talent for the benefit of other authors. And then, just as she discovered she was fatally ill, she put pen to paper and produced four of the most remarkable novels for children you could wish for. She was a writing phenomenon. The overriding thought of all those who knew her work is that her loss to the world of children’s writing is a tragedy. It is utterly characteristic that Siobhan should, at the end, put her mind unerringly to the most deserving group of all: the young reader. Siobhan realized that our literary culture - critics, bookshops, agents, publishing, libraries, schools - depends ultimately on the reader. And, of readers, the young reader is the most vulnerable. And amongst young readers, the disadvantaged young reader is the most deprived of all. Siobhan, at the last, and with all her usual clarity, decided to help them. And you can help them too.
The Siobhan Dowd Trust Books
A Swift Pure Cry
The London Eye Mystery
Solace of the Road
Please log on to www.siobhandowdtrust.org for more details about the Trust, about how to donate and about how to apply for support
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