Berlie Doherty Interview

Double Carnegie Medal-winning author Berlie Doherty spoke to us about her delight that her popular children’s book, Snowy has been reissued by Troika Books. Berlie will appearing at the Inland Waterways Association’s festival in Chester on Sunday June 8th, where there will also be a host of family activities.

‘Snowy’ follows the story of a young girl who lives on a narrowboat with her family. Is it true that meeting a little girl living in a similar situation inspired you to write the story?

Yes. I was very lucky to have been invited by the Cheshire Education authority to run a series of writing workshops for children on the narrowboat, Betelgeuse, which was pulled along by Snowy. The owners used to live on the boat with their little girl, Rachel.

Can you describe your feelings when you discovered that Troika Books were reissuing your award-winning book ‘Snowy’?

I was delighted! Snowy was always a very popular book and everyone loves that stunning image on the cover.  I was disappointed and surprised when it went out of print, and thrilled to know that Troika would be making it available again in this beautiful edition.

You’ll be appearing at the Inland Waterways Association’s festival in Chester basin on June 8th.  Have you ever enjoyed a narrowboat holiday yourself?!

I very much enjoyed the week I spent on Betelgeuse (Beetle Juice!), and have spent occasional days on narrowboats since. Our hobby is canoeing, and we spend many absorbing hours exploring the waterways  from our very lowly position! We see lots of wildlife from there, and love to peer up at the painted narrowboats and admire them.

Is there a story you used to read to your own children which has stayed with you over the years? 

Winnie the Pooh was always a firm favourite. I loved doing the different voices. It’s certainly a book that has stood the test of time.

Are you able to single out one highlight of your long and illustrious career?

Hard question! Maybe it was when Daughter of the Sea was made into an opera for children at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. Richard Chew’s music was superb, as were the performances by children and professionals.

Are there any writing awards left which you’d love to win one day?

Well yes, but it would be very bad luck to mention them! The point is, the award is for the book, not for the author. Every new book is like a new child, and you always want the best for it!

When you’re writing do you have lots of ideas for future books or do you wait for inspiration to strike?

My head is usually a total muddle and more often than not I’m writing more than one thing at a time. However, there’s always a point where the one idea takes hold and surges forward.

If you were a young writer starting out today, what advice would you offer to your younger self?

The same advice that I always give – write a little every day, and move around prose, poetry and dialogue.  Try working the same idea in different ways , and never send off your manuscript until it’s ready to be seen.

To read more about Berlie and her books, click here to visit her website.
Visit the website of Troika Books, to read about the reissued publication of Snowy.






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