Writing in The Guardian in late 2014 the author Rupert Wallis was minded to tell us that ‘…more and more not-so- young adults are reading YA fiction’ – which he declared was no bad thing. He went on…
‘The power of YA fiction to generate an emotional resonance around death should not be underestimated in UK society, where young adults spend a lot of time immersed in the artificial realities of cyberspace and gaming’.
Source: The Guardian, 18th August 2014.
Lynda Haddock, in her first novel, has wonderfully underscored the sentiment with her first novel Ellen Lives On. The book features the journey, the exploration of a new life and the acquisition of a new set of values, by the teenager Ellen.
For Ellen the journey is mapped from the suicide of her mother, an emergent rally to the cause of education and her exodus to the Metropolis in search new friends, political engagement and the forming of a new identity for herself.
‘One way of tackling the difficult questions raised by death is to feel connected to one another in addressing them, to feel human together…’ writes Wallis in his article. Indeed, the sensitively written, clear narrative from Lynda Haddock stirs up the emotions and will clearly illuminate a shared experience for teenagers suffering loss.
The new novel was enjoyed by the Books go Walkabout team in our office. Sue Martin, writing for our new season book list opined…
”A desperately moving novel about a young girl whose life changes forever when she returns home to find that her mother has committed suicide.
Ellen, a scholarship girl at a local grammar school in the 1970’s, finds that life is uncomfortable and fraught as soon as you are no longer the ‘norm’ pupil, let alone the trauma of discovering that she is alone in the world. Alone, that is, apart from her Grandfather, who is elderly and lives a long way from Ellen.
Taken in by her aunt and uncle, Ellen finds the welcome is short lived and that she is a burden to the family, simply used as the girl in the house to do all the chores. Her uncle tells her the sooner she finishes school and starts a job the sooner she can pay for her living.
After a series of heart-wrenching problems with friends, teachers and those who were meant to be supporting her, Ellen goes on the run. She finds friendship with people in a squat, her grandfather is taken into hospital and she abandons any hope of a career with prospects.
Eventually Social Services find Ellen and her life starts to rebuild, but never back to where it was and with very little hope of the future that had been planned.
A moving and poignant story for Young Adults and a thought provoking debut novel for Lynda Haddock.”
It is also, in its way, a primer for adults, the ‘not so young’ in Wallis’s narrative, to recognise the strains and pains of a teenager going through this crisis, such is the insight afforded the reader of any age by Lynda Haddock’s writing.
Lynda Haddock’s work joins a solid tradition of novels that seek to offer reflection and a way forward in the face of death and loss. From The Fault in Our Stars by John Green to Jacqueline Wilson’s Vicky Angel – the Haddock narrative deals with death, yes, but also in the exploration of self, equality and values – all of which are significant markers for young adults as they march forward into the 21st Century.
For Wallis ‘…the true significance of death in YA is that authors are reflecting back what they see everyday; namely, that death is ominously prevalent these days, whether in fiction or a national news broadcast or the obituary columns‘.
This is certainly true of the author Lynda Haddock, whose professional life before her novel encompassed education and the specialist support of children experiencing difficulty in their lives. The storytelling resonates with it.
The experience tellingly shows in the novel Ellen Lives On, and we hope it might become a staple of your library of resources – tendering a way into loss and bereavement that will be recognised by any teenager, whatever their culture, age or background.
We would commend Lynda Haddock’s publisher to note that the YA Book Prize for 2019 is now open for nominations.
Here at ConsEast Towers we are already planning the new season voluntary and fund-raising support.
This year we are supporting St. Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich. If you are within reach of the hospice, and have time and skills to help the team deliver this great, supportive work, then the web link below is for you.
”We started thanks to the foresight and commitment of the local community and medical experts who laid the groundwork to open the hospice.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the then East Suffolk District Health Authority and other groups began discussions about establishing a hospice in east Suffolk. The Health Authority was unfortunately unable to fund the project so an appeal committee was formed.
In 1983, a public fundraising appeal was launched with the aim of raising £1 million”. Source: St Elizabeth web pages.
The rest, as they say is history. But you still have a chance to take part in this important service, and work with great people at St. Elizabeth Hospice as a volunteer.
The JDRF Gift Packages enable you to select a gift to your value, so that your purchase has even more impact on the work of JDRF, our favourite charity.
How does it work?…
‘Select and order your gift. JDRF will send you a …pack containing a premium gift card that is blank for your own message and a brief description of your gift. We also include a letter from us explaining how this gift can help people with type 1, all wrapped up in a blue gift envelope. You can then personalise and send your gift to a friend or loved one’.
Together, these 17 women—the “Primadonnas”—have worked to create a festival of brilliant writing, borne out of a desire to give prominence to work by women and spotlight authors from the margins—and to create a thoroughly joyous and accessible experience. There will be live music, films and comedy and all sorts of writing represented. ‘ Source: Primadonna web pages.
The dictionary defines a primadonna as a temperamental person, an unpredictable person, a self-important person! However, the event will be characterised by impeccable behaviour and scintillating intellectual challenges, given the stellar line-up of originators above.
The origins of the title are in the 18th Century, in Italy of course, where a literal translation is ‘first lady’. A veritable melange of premier writing and performance talent, we are sure.
E.M. Forster wrote …Beauty ought to look a little surprised: it is the emotion that best suits her face. The beauty who does not look surprised, who accepts her position as her due – she reminds us too much of a primadonna.
We are in for a surprising event, undoubtedly. Packing our tent and weekend bag as we write…
“Discover the extraordinary story behind one of humankind’s greatest achievements: through more than 100 objects spanning 5,000 years and seven continents
Follow the remarkable evolution of writing from ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs carved in stone and early printed text such as William Caxton’s edition of The Canterbury Tales, to the art of note-taking by some of history’s greatest minds, and on-wards to the digital communication tools we use today.” Source: The British Library web pages
This new exhibition provides wonderful insights into the both the future of writing and the past development of the craft.
From quill pen to digital tablet, how we create and communicate has been beautifully illustrated for us, ‘…in an interactive exhibition gives you the chance to reflect on works of genius that wouldn’t exist without the writing traditions of civilisations past’.
The study it regales us with is Taking Part(.pdf) from the DCMS. It found that…
The greatest fall in adult library usage was seen among 16 to 24-year-olds, according to the DCMS report. In 2005, figures showed that 51% of this age group used the library. In 2015, the figure fell to 25.2%.
Statista, the Statistics Portal, offers detailed annual library visits data, from 2002 to 2014. Here the analysis shows that from a peak in 2005/, with a total of £42 million visits, by 2013/14 this figure had declined to just over 282 million visits.
It is never too late to fight back and get into good library habits. We like the 10 Reasons to use Your Library article, on the web journal Ten Penny Dreams. Elegantly laid out, the author, a North of England writer, gently chides us to remember why using a library is such a joy and a revelation. See more here…
If you need it, visitcambridge.org in the East of England are offering public tours of the Parker Library, including parts of Corpus Christi College. Where you can ‘…sample its amazing collection which includes the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, principal source book for early English history, the sixth-century Gospels of Saint Augustine, the Bury Bible and the best manuscript of Chaucer’s Troilus…
Proof, if proof were needed, that librarians are keepers of our collective culture, and that libraries, as buildings, are the engines of our future dreams. Don’t lose it, use it!
British Science Week will next take place between 8th-17th March, 2019.
The application process involves thematic grants for school, community groups and one for theBritish Science Association branches. You can see the detail for each sectoral award below…
The deadline for applications is 5pm, 12 November 2018.
Kick Start Grants
This scheme offers grants for schools in challenging circumstances to organise their own events as part of British Science Week. There are three options available:
Kick Start grant: A grant of £300 for your school to run an activity
Kick Start More grant: A grant of £700 for your school to host a science event or activity which involves your students and the local community.
Kick Start Youth grant: A grant of £150 for your school to run an activity during British Science Week organised by students.
This scheme offers £500 to £1000 grants for community groups that work directly with audiences who are traditionally under-represented and currently not engaged in science activity. Our definition of groups that are underrepresented in science includes:
people who are Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME)
people with low socio-economic status (SES), including people disadvantaged in terms of education and income
young people facing adversity, including those not in education, employment or training (NEET)
people with a disability, defined as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term effect on someone’s ability to do normal daily activities (Equalities Act 2010)
people living in a remote and rural location, defined as settlements of less than 10,000 people
girls and women
BSW Grants for BSA branches
This scheme offers up to £500 of funding for British Science Association branches to take part in our national celebration by running local events during British Science Week.
This scheme is open to BSA volunteer branches only.
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