Debut novel takes prize for Ludlow's Liz

By Toby Neal | Ludlow | South Shropshire entertainment | Published:

Ludlow writer Liz Hyder has won a top prize for her debut Bearmouth, an atmospheric dystopian novel for young adults.

Award winner Liz

She has been named the winner of the Books for Older Readers category of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2020

She receives £2,000 and the promise of ongoing commitment to her writing career.

“Bearmouth was originally inspired by a trip down a slate mine on the Welsh coast some years ago," said Liz.

Bearmouth by Liz Hyder

"I vaguely remembered learning about Victorian children working in the mines at school, but I’d forgotten just how brutal and exploitative the conditions were. I wondered if I could set a story entirely in that world, a page-turning thriller in the depths of a mine that would feel as if the walls were closing in but that also contained within it a spark of rebellion.

"I knew I wanted it to be a first-person narrative with a distinctive voice and Newt, the main character, was in my head right from the start along with the dialect in which the book is written.”

Florentyna Martin, Waterstones Children’s Buyer said: “It is difficult to remember another book that gripped us quite as much as Bearmouth."

Toby Neal

By Toby Neal
Feature Writer

A journalist in Shropshire for 40 years, mainly writes features and columns, especially about aspects of Shropshire history. Lives in Telford and is based at the Ketley headquarters.

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