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Siobhan Dowd - Author

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
Bog Child
Solace of the Road

The Trustees
Tony Bradman
Rachel Billington
Polly Nolan
David Fickling
Sarah Wyatt


Please log on to www.siobhandowdtrust.com for more details about the Trust, about how to donate and about how to apply for support.



Featured books by Siobhan Dowd

Other books by Siobhan Dowd

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl

The Pavee and the Buffer Girl

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/05/2019

Bullying, name-calling, and a new school face Jim when his family halt at Dundray. The town aren't happy that his community are there and it seems such an unfriendly place until he meets a girl named Kit. But acts of prejudice are constant, the threat to Jims family is building, and Kit's friendship isn't enough to stop the violence they face. A stunning new edition of this poignant novella of the reality of life in a traveller community and the simple power of kindness.

A Swift Pure Cry

A Swift Pure Cry

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/08/2018

Reissued in Penguin's ORIGINALS series of iconic teen fiction. After Shell's mother dies, her obsessively religious father descends into alcoholic mourning and Shell is left to care for her younger brother and sister. Her only release from the harshness of everyday life comes from her budding spiritual friendship with a naive young priest, and most importantly, her developing relationship with childhood friend, Declan, charming, eloquent and persuasive. But when Declan suddenly leaves Ireland to seek his fortune in America, Shell finds herself pregnant and the centre of a scandal that rocks the small community in which she lives, with repercussions across the whole country. The lives of those immediately around her will never be the same again.

The Ransom of Dond

The Ransom of Dond

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2016

Darra is an omen of unluck: a thirteenth child. To appease the dark god, Dond, and bring good fortune to her small island community, Darra must be sacrificed at the age of thirteen - by drowning. On the eve of her final birthday, Darra begins to dream of the twin brother she has watched from afar but never met, and dares to hope that she might escape her fate . . . The scouring wind and remorseless waves which beat against Darra's island world are matched in Pam Smy's powerful, wild and emotive illustrations. The Ransom of Dond is our final story from Siobhan, and a book to be treasured.

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