Here is one of the magical synchronicities that enrich my life from time to time: I recently received an email from a Canadian reader who said she had read my fairy books as a child - The Light-Bearer's Daughter being her favourite. Grown now, a young woman, she bought People of the Great Journey. When she came to the part of the book which includes the story of Terezin, or Theresienstadt as it was also called, she was astonished. You see, as a child she took part in the Oratorio Terezin, a heart-breaking and exquisite opera involving a full orchestra, children's and adult choirs, and soloists. They sang pieces from the Bible alongside poems written by the children imprisoned in Terezin, most of whom died in Auschwitz: of 15,000 children, only 100 survived. This Oratorio was created by Ruth Fazal, a Canadian composer. You can read all about it and order CDs and DVDs at this website: www.ruthfazal.com. What my reader could hardly believe was that she had read my books as a child and also took part in the Oratorio, and then was brought back to Terezin when she read my adult work. What was amazing for me was that I had not heard of the Oratorio and was stunned by the beauty of the music and the poetry. If (no, when) this book goes to film, I will make certain the director is aware of Ms Fazal's work.
My publishers just informed me that I am up for the People's Book Prize in the UK. There are no judges other than readers! It's very simple. You got to this website http://www.peoplesbookprize.com then register and vote. I was on the first page the last time I checked. This is not a scam or a harvest-your-email effort. The first patron was Beryl Bainbridge and the current patron is Frederick Forsyth. The mission statement is to promote literacy and introduce authors newly published in the UK.
I was born in Ireland and grew up in Toronto, Canada with my seven sisters and two brothers. Left home at seventeen to live in a commune, then headed off across Canada with my pal, Carole, and we hitch-hiked around California for months, then back up to Vancouver(Van as we called it then) and across Canada with two more pals, Linda and Peggy. A year later, headed off to Malaysia and Borneo with Jeunesse Canada Monde/Canada World Youth for a year. Baik-lah! Back home, went to Trinity College at the University of Toronto (posh blokes) while also joining the Canadian Naval Reserve as an Officer Cadet. Trained on the east and west coasts of Canada every summer. Great fun. Then what? Hmm. Started to write books, dodgy personal life (that's personal but let's just say it's been a long time between drinks) started to wander around the world, had a darling daughter, settled down in Ireland, wrote more books.