More books by Siobhan Dowd
PublisherDavid Fickling Books an imprint of Random House Children's Books
Suitable for AgesFeatured Books for 11+ readers
Featured Books for 13+ readers
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Publication date4th March 2010
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Solace of the Road
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The Lovereading4kids comment:
Shortlisted for the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009, for the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2009 and for the 20th Bisto Children's Book of the Year Award 2010.
Beautifully written and achingly moving, Solace of the Road is the poignant and desperate story of one girl’s search for her mother. Running away from her foster home, Holly dons the blonde wig she finds and reinvents herself as the older, more glamorous and dangerously bold Solace and sets off to hitchhike to Ireland which, in her memory, is the place she locates her mother. Through her impressions of the present and her memories of the past, ‘Solace’ pieces together the painful fragments of her life.
From Siobhan Dowd: '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.'
What the Bisto Judges said: A finely constructed novel, beautifully written by a master storyteller.
From David Fickling, the author's publisher: 'In 2007 Siobhan Dowd was voted one of the twenty-five British writers for the future (only three were children’s writers). Everybody should read her.'
Siobhan’s previous titles are Bog Child, A Swift Pure Cry and The London Eye Mystery. Sadly, Siobhan died in 2007 but her memory lives on in a Trust that has been set up in her name as well as through her writing.
Every penny of royalties from Siobhan's book sales go to the trust that has been set up in her memory - www.siobhandowdtrust.org
SynopsisSolace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
Memories of Mum are the only thing that make Holly Hogan happy. She hates her foster family with their too-nice ways and their false sympathy. And she hates her life, her stupid school and the way everyone is always on at her. Then she finds the wig, and everything changes. Wearing the long, flowing blonde locks she feels transformed. She's not Holly any more, she's Solace: the girl with the slinkster walk and the super-sharp talk. She's older, more confident - the kind of girl who can walk right out of her humdrum life, hitch to Ireland and find her mum. The kind of girl who can face the world head on. So begins a bittersweet, and sometimes hilarious journey as Solace swaggers and Holly tiptoes across England and through memory, discovering her true self, and unlocking the secrets of her past. Holly's story will leave a lasting impression on all who travel with her.
Praise for Solace of the Road:
"Solace of the Road has it all, really: grit, pathos, humour, sharp observation, and a central character who catches your heart and doesn't let it go. [A] Heartbreaking road trip novel with an unforgettable central character. Moments of intense pathos combine with humour to create a book of tremendous quality. Highly recommended." thebookbag.co.uk
"An amazing book for those who love a road trip story with gritty drama and great laughs woven in." Stoke on Trent Sentinel Series
"... unexpectedly life affirming, wise and mature." The Times
"... this gritty, realistic novel which deploys Dowd's talent for humour, will appeal to the older teenage reader." Daily Telegraph
"Real, touching, at times gritty, but laced with humour throughout it will delight teenage and adult readers alike." Irish Post
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). 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 and went on to study Classics at Oxford.
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, was published by David Fickling Books on 7 June 2007. Two further novels were published posthumously in 2008 and 2009, Bog Child, appeared in February 2008, and her fourth novel, Solace of the Road, in February 2009. The former won the prestigious Carnegie Medal.
Tragically, Siobhan died at the age of 47, in August 2007; she had been receiving treatment for advanced breast cancer for three years. Her memory lives on in The Siobhan Dowd Trust, set up to help disadvantaged children in the UK and Ireland discover and experience the joy of reading. Although she was ill, Siobhan personally and energetically supervised its foundation; it was one of the very last things on her mind and clearly, for her, the most pressing cause in our society today.
Siobhan was a writing phenomenon: discovering that she was fatally ill, she put pen to paper and produced four of the most remarkable novels for children you could wish for. Her loss to the world of children’s writing is a tragedy. But 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 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 organisations 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 organisations 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.
The Siobhan Dowd Trust Books
A Swift Pure Cry
The London Eye Mystery
Solace of the Road
Please log on to www.siobhandowdtrust.com for more details about the Trust, about how to donate and about how to apply for support.
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