The Ferry Birds by Helen Dunmore


The Ferry Birds by Helen Dunmore

About the Author

Helen Dunmore

A message from the author:
‘I was born in December 1952, in Yorkshire, the second of four children. My father was the eldest of twelve, and this extended family has no doubt had a strong influence on my life, as have my own children. In a large family you hear a great many stories. You also come to understand very early that stories hold quite different meanings for different listeners, and can be recast from many viewpoints. Poetry was very important to me from childhood. I began by listening to and learning by heart all kinds of rhymes and hymns and ballads, and then went on to make up my own poems, using the forms I’d heard. Writing these down came a little later. During the 1980s and early 1990s I taught poetry and creative writing, and in the late 1980s I began to publish short stories, and these were the beginning of a breakthrough into fiction. What I had learned of prose technique through the short story gave me the impetus to start writing novels. My first novel for children was published in 1992, and my first novel for adults was published in 1993.’

Born in Yorkshire, Helen Dunmore studied English at York University and taught in Finland for two years before publishing her first poetry. She has worked as a writer, reader, performer and teacher of Poetry and Creative Writing, tutoring many residential writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and taking part in the Poetry Society's Writer in Schools scheme. She has also taught at a number of universities. She reviews fiction and poetry, contributes to arts programmes on BBC radio and has been a judge for many literary awards, including the T. S. Eliot Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year award. Her first poetry collection was published in 1983 and she has since been shortlisted for the prestigious TS Eliot Poetry prize. Her first novel for adults, Zennor in Darkness was published in 1993 and she won the inaugural orange Prize for Fiction in 1996. She has written many books for children, the first of which came in 1992. The first book in the Ingo series of novels for children was published in 2005. The second, The Tide Knot (2006), won the Nestle Children’s Book Prize Silver Medal. The third in the Ingo series, The Deep, was published in 2007, and the fourth and final book, The Crossing of Ingo, came out in paperback in 2009. Helen Dunmore is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has received honorary doctorates from the University of Glamorgan and the University of Exeter. She was on the Management Committee of the Society of Authors 2002-2005 and was Chair of the Society of Authors 2005-2006. She is married and has a step-son, a son and a daughter.

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Book Info


38 pages


Helen Dunmore
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Publication date

1st April 2012



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