Sunday, May 9, 2010

Carnegie Shadowing Scheme

It's just over two weeks since the announcement of the CILIP Carnegie medal shortlist and it's been fascinating seeing the Shadowing Scheme working. I have to admit that before "The Vanishing..." was Carnegie nominated, I was woefully ignorant about the scheme - perhaps because my kids aren't in the British school system, so we'd never come across it. It's a briliant idea - participating schools organise reading groups and events, and post online reviews of the shortlisted books. It's a great way to encourage reading, create debate and also stimulate some of the frankest literary criticism you're ever likely to come across as an author. Those reviewers don't pull their punches!

Here's a selection, ranging from the good:
Rhiannan: "This is one of the best books I have ever read, it keeps you on your toes and you get a good feeling about how Pia and the other characters feel. I really liked how the author included the German words. I think that it is one of the most mysterious books I have read and it's very scary. How it makes you lock your bedroom window at night!!!!!!!"

to the bad:
Lauren: "I didn't like this book. I thought it was really bad. The story line about girls being abducted interested me and the blurb and the cover made it seem quite interesting but overall it was really strange and uninteresting. It took a lot of effort to get into. It was very anticlimactic."

and - ahem - the ugly:
'Slattybatfast': "you're all wrong. wrong wrong wrong. its the lamest peice of drivvel i have ever had the missfortune to pick up. the charecter was an annoying girl that would be knocked over in a moderatly strong draft! the setting was weak and a bit cliche, the thing with the granny was funny but unnessercery. ect. ect. ect."

Who's right? No, don't answer that.... At any rate, I'm pleased the book has provoked a strong response!!!

I'm delighted to say that I have been invited to visit several schools in Britain (and one here in Belgium) in June to talk about the book and answer questions as part of the Shadowing scheme. I'm hoping to visit Wales, Warwickshire and Somerset amongst other places. Looking forward to meeting some of those readers for real!


  1. I have to say I'm no schoolgirl but am absolutely loving your novel! The narrative voice is so right-on and pefect it reminds me of To Kill A Mockingbird, and I think this is one of the most promising beginnings I've read in years. The writing is beautiful and so evocative, the setting fascinating, and the feelings so real that I'm totally caught up in the story. I also love the way everyone's in costume right now, giving the whole thing a sort of fariytale or surreal feel at the part where the girl has just disappeared.
    From an eager reader

  2. Hello Jean,
    I'm thrilled that you like the book so much! The setting is very dear to my heart, as we lived in Bad M√ľnstereifel for 7 years, and I really loved it. Thanks so much for the feedback!
    Very best wishes

  3. You are most welcome! In the midst of school ending and other life happenings, I haven't been able to read any further--but look forward to when I can!