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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 Ransom of Dond

The Ransom of Dond

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 17/07/2019

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.

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.

Oxford Playscripts: Solace of the Road

Oxford Playscripts: Solace of the Road

Author: Siobhan Dowd, Mike Kenny Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/11/2014

Holly Hogan is on the run. Fed up of life in foster care and longing to be reunited with her mum, she packs a bag and heads for the road, destined for Ireland. With only her mum's amber ring, a blonde wig and distant memories of a troubled childhood, Holly transforms herself into the feisty Solace the kind of girl who can take on anything. But just how far will Holly get before her past catches up with her? Solace of the Road features a detailed scheme of work including a range of inspiring activities and drama techniques, written by title consultants Paul Bunyan and Ruth Moore.

Bog Child

Bog Child

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/01/2011

Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she's been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him - his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what, a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls. Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.

The London Eye Mystery

The London Eye Mystery

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 29/04/2010

When Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye, he turned and waved before getting on. After half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off - but no Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? Since the police are having no luck finding him, Ted and Kat become sleuthing partners. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery. This is an unputdownable spine-tingling thriller!

Bog Child

Bog Child

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/02/2009

Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she's been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him - his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what, a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls. Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.

London Eye Mystery

London Eye Mystery

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: eBook Release Date: 20/12/2008

When Aunt Glorias son, Salim, mysteriously disappears from a sealed pod on the London Eye, everyone is frantic. Has he spontaneously combusted? [Teds theory.]Has he been kidnapped? [Aunt Glorias theory.]Is he even still alive? [The familys unspoken fear.]Even the police are baffled. Ted, whose brain runs on its own unique operating system, and his older sister, Kat, overcome their prickly relationship to become sleuthing partners. They follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin, while time ticks dangerously by...

The London Eye Mystery

The London Eye Mystery

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/06/2008

An unputdownable, spine-tingling thriller - a race against time! When Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye, he turned and waved before getting on. But after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off - and no Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air? So Ted and his older sister, Kat, become sleuthing partners, since the police are having no luck. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery.

Bog Child

Bog Child

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/02/2008

Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds the body of a child, and it looks like she's been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the mad world around him - his brother on hunger-strike in prison, his growing feelings for Cora, his parents arguing over the Troubles, and him in it up to the neck, blackmailed into acting as courier to God knows what, a little voice comes to him in his dreams, and the mystery of the bog child unfurls. Bog Child is an astonishing novel exploring the sacrifices made in the name of peace, and the unflinching strength of the human spirit.

A Swift Pure Cry

A Swift Pure Cry

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/01/2007

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.

A Swift Pure Cry

A Swift Pure Cry

Author: Siobhan Dowd Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/03/2006

This book is set in Ireland in 1984. 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. This is a story of love and loss, religious belief and spirituality - it will move the hearts of any who read it.

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