The Wind Singer by William Nicholson

The Wind Singer

Written by William Nicholson
Part of the The Wind on Fire Trilogy Series

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

The first book in the Wind On Fire Trilogy. A richly imagined fantasy trilogy set in a world with strong and rigid conditions which are about to be crushed! Once Kestrel has learnt the secret of the Wind Singer she and her twin brother Bowman set out on a long journey during which they discover the secrets of the Singer people and break the power of the Mastery. Finally, they must return to the homeland. But, can they return together and can Kestrel survive? Conceived on a grand scale this story is peopled by a convincing and admirable cast led by Kestrel herself. Other books in the trilogy include Slaves of The Mastery, and Firesong.


The Wind Singer by William Nicholson

The books are set in a realm similar to ours, but separate. They tell the story of the Hath family, and the Manth people who go on a long, and harsh journey from their city-prison, to their homeland. The main characters, Kestrel and Bowman Hath, are twins that have certain powers that allow them to save their people, and friends, from the Morah. The first book tells of the events unfolding near and inside Aramanth, the second one talks about the lives of the Manth people in The Mastery, and the third book concludes with their voyage to the homeland.


Maslo Inch: The Examiner in the first book.

Hanno Hath: Kestrel, Bowman and Pinpin's father. He works as a librarian, and although intelligent ‘Likes books, not exams’, meaning the Haths cannot achieve a very high family rating. A covertly rebellious man, he is placed in an education group, which is more like prison. He can see why his family would want to rebel against the system, and respects this, but is not openly rebellious himself until his incarceration. Ho loves his family dearly.

Mumpo: A dribbly, smelly boy who is at the bottom of Kestrel's class. As the books progress, however, he matures and becomes surprisingly endearing. Kestrel hates him in the first book and is angered that he joins her quest, but learns to like him. In the second book he trains to be a warrior for the mastery, and falls in love with Pinpin, whom he eventually marries.

Albard: A.K.A. the Master, a rebellious Singer. In Firesong he teaches Bowman how to use his powers.


'Full of inventiveness, action and passion.' Guardian

About the Author

William Nicholson

William Nicholson was our Guest Editor in April 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.

William Nicholson was born in 1948, and grew up in Sussex and Gloucestershire. He was educated at Downside School and Christ's College, Cambridge, and then joined BBC Television, where he worked as a documentary film maker. There his ambition to write, directed first into novels, was channelled into television drama. His plays for television include Shadowlands and Life Story, both of which won the BAFTA Best Television Drama award in their year; other award-winners were Sweet As You Are and The March. In 1988 he received the Royal Television Society's Writer's Award. His first play, an adaptation of Shadowlands for the stage, was Evening Standard Best Play of 1990, and went on to a Tony-award winning run on Broadway. He was nominated for an Oscar for the screenplay of the film version, which was directed by Richard Attenborough and starred Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. Since then he has written more films - Sarafina, Nell, First Knight, Grey Owl, and Gladiator (as co-writer), for which he received a second Oscar nomination. He has written and directed his own film, Firelight; and three further stage plays, Map of the Heart, Katherine Howard and The Retreat from Moscow. His novel for older children, The Wind Singer, won the Smarties Prize Gold Award on publication in 2000, and the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award in 2001. Its sequel, Slaves of the Mastery, was published in May 2001, and the final volume in the Wind on Fire trilogy, Firesong was published in May 2002. A further epic trilogy – Noble Warriors – has seen been published to much acclaim and began with The Seeker, continued with Jango and culminates in Noman. He lives in Sussex with his wife Virginia and their three children.

Where do you get your ideas?

What inspired you to write ‘The Wind Singer, your first novel for teenagers’?

I take a lot of trouble over names. Often I’ll change a character’s name several times during the writing of the book, until it settles down and feels right. The meaning of the name, or the associations of the sound, have to connect with the character – so Kestrel is fast and dangerous and beautiful, like the hawk, and Mumpo is mumbly and pooey, at least to start with. Also I try to give people from the same group similar names. All the Manth people have names ending in –th or –ch or –sh, and all the mud people have names ending in –um. This is very much what happens in the real world.

Did you know The Wind Singer would be part of a trilogy?

If you want to write books, you have to do two things: read books, and write. It sounds obvious, but only by writing a lot will you get any good. The better the books you read, the better your own writing will be. Then it’s just a matter of keeping on writing. You won’t get good by giving up. I was useless for a long time, but slowly I got better. You can do it too. If you feel strong enough, show your work to others, and listen to their criticisms. It hurts - but if you listen, you'll get better.

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.

Click here to read a Q&A with the author from top children's publisher Egmont.

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Book Info


352 pages
Interest Age: From 11


William Nicholson
More books by William Nicholson

Author's Website


Egmont Childrens Books

Publication date

7th April 2008




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