I am delighted to tell you that The Road to Gundagai by Jackie French has been shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young Adult’s Literature in the 2015 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards!
The Road to Gundagai is the third book in Jackie’s completely engaging Matilda Saga that started with A Waltz for Matilda. And fingers crossed for Jackie when the winners are announced at the State Library of NSW on Monday 18 May.
I know you will join me in congratulating Jackie – and I will let the judges have the final say:
‘Perhaps what is most remarkable about Jackie French’s legendary output is the quality of her work and the depth of the research in her historical fiction.
The Road to Gundagai is arguably the finest example yet of her ability to take the reader to another time and place. In this case the time is 1932,
and the place is country Victoria, which has been ravaged socially, economically and physically by the Great Depression, and by drought.
Into this barren, hopeless world shuffles Bluebell, a 16‐year‐old orphan girl who has narrowly survived a house fire, and is now being ‘cared for’ — possibly poisoned — by her aunts. She is desperate to escape, but the world is a scary place for a young girl who is disfigured, poor and virtually alone. So when the Magnifico Family Circus comes to town, Blue sees a perfect opportunity to escape, and to disappear almost without trace, literally overnight. But, of course, nothing is ever as it seems; not even the kindly circus family who saved her.
With adroitly handled historical detail, evocative writing, intrigue, mystery, wonderful characters and settings — and the odd murder —
The Road to Gundagai is, most importantly, a cracking good read.’ Teachers Notes Available.