'Extraordinary' Congratulations to Helen!

Helen Watts
We're very excited for Helen Watts, whose book One Day In Oradour has been selected for an Extraordinary Award in the 2014 Southern Schools Book Awards. Because the content of 'Oradour' had generated so much interest and discussion, the SSBA felt 'it merited standalone recognition, both to commemorate the 70 years since the events in Oradour and to mark the ten-year milestone of the SSBA'. What a wonderful accolade!
Over to Helen for how it happened, how she feels and what it means to her...

"I am over the moon to hear that my debut novel, One Day In Oradour, is to be given an Extraordinary Award in the 2014 Southern Schools Book Awards - and it gives me great pleasure to hear that the book has prompted so much interest and discussion among the students who vote in the awards. I was not aware that One Day In Oradour was being considered for the Southern Schools Book Awards, so when the organisers contacted me with the news while I was on a day out with my teenage children at Drayton Manor Theme Park, it was a wonderful surprise.

"What made it even more special was a note from the award organiser mentioning a reading group student in her school who had never finished a book until she picked up One Day In Oradour. Apparently that student not only read the book and finished it, but also then spoke to the rest of the group, recounting the story almost word for word, and is now about to write her first book review. That was the best feedback possible: I celebrated in style with a ride on a roller coaster and a hot doughnut!

"The book is inspired by a real event that took place 70 years ago this June - a tragic and shocking episode from the Second World War in which an entire French village was wiped out in a single afternoon. Oradour-sur-Glane was relatively unknown outside of France, but it was such a powerful, moving story that I felt compelled to retell it. So I am delighted that readers young and old are reacting to it so well, and that more and more people are now talking about 10th June 1944 and the massacre that took place.

"There's an awards presentation event on January 9th 2015 at Roedean School in Brighton and I will be there to receive the award and talk about the book. Interestingly, the host for the evening is Kevin Brooks who won last year with The Bunker Diary and who of course has now just won the Carnegie Medal (with some controversy in the media). Hopefully, the award will boost sales as it's always helpful to be able to say 'award winning author' in any blurb."

We hope so too, Helen
Many, many congratulations!

1 comment:

  1. Great news. Congratulations. And an extraordinary event to recount.


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