Siobhan Dowds' Novels

London Eye Book CoverThe London Eye Mystery
A story for 9 to 12-year-olds, planned as the first in a series, this is a novel that works on a number of levels and is a compulsively readable, spine-tingling thriller with subtle characterization. It provides rich veins for exploration by reading groups and also by teachers in the classroom setting. It can be appreciated not least for Siobhan’s exploration of disability as a gift.“London Eye” won the NASEN/TES Special Educational Needs Children’s Book Award, was longlisted for the 2008 Carnegie Medal, and shortlisted for a range of other awards. In May 2008, it was posthumously awarded the Bisto Book of the Year prize.


Bog Child Book CoverBog Child
Finished three months before her death from cancer, “Bog Child” won the Carnegie medal, the most prestigious prize in children’s literature. It is a truly outstanding novel that can be enjoyed by adults as well as young adults, 13 and over. It has a particular resonance for readers living in the Border region and conveys both an extraordinary sense of place and a vivid picture of adolescence in early 1980’s Ireland. It deals sensitively but also realistically with a pivotal period in recent Irish history. The power of this story to inform as well as to entertain makes it no surprise that it was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Decade 2010.


Swift Pure Cry Book CoverA Swift Pure Cry
Set in a remote corner of Co. Cork in 1984, this superb novel was inspired by two real-life Irish tragedies, the Ann Lovett story and the Kerry Babies case. Siobhan’s novel melds both stories into one, starting off with the memorably down-beat sentence, “The place brought to mind a sinking ship.” The main character struggles to survive in a world of poverty, alcoholism, teenage pregnancy and moral hypocrisy. Heart-breaking, but never dismal, her story is beautifully written and keenly observed. A Swift Pure Cry, Dowd’s first novel, was published in 2006 and is suitable for readers 15 years to adults, but can also be enjoyed by 12 to 14 year olds, subject to parental guidance. It met with immediate critical acclaim; was short-listed for a number of awards and was awarded the Eilis Dillon and Branford Boase Awards.


Soalce of the road book coverSolace of the Road
Published in January 2009, “Solace of the road” was shortlisted for both the Guardian’s Children’s Fiction Prize and Costa Book Award in 2009. It won the Children’s Books Ireland Bisto Honour Award in 2010. Solace of the Road has a lot to offer readers. Its picture of social workers is broadly sympathetic, and Holly’s acid tongue provides moments of grim humour. The compassionate, perceptive and realistic portrayal of a damaged child in real danger from both herself and her environment is unexpectedly life affirming.




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