Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wellington writer Fleur Beale wins ‘much-loved’ book award with psychological thriller

A tense psychological thriller, I am not Esther, has won the 2009 Storylines Gaelyn Gordon Award for a Much-loved Book for its Wellington author, Fleur Beale.

Established in 1997 to commemorate the life and works of the late Hamilton writer Gaelyn Gordon, the award goes to a book which, though not an award winner at the time of publication, has proved itself with readers and in the marketplace over a period of more than five years.

“I am not Esther is a gripping young adult psychological thriller,” says Storylines Trust chairman, Dr Libby Limbrick, “With over 15,000 copies sold, it has proved itself a favourite with teenage readers and in schools. In her portrait of Esther, the author has created a compelling and readable study of a young woman abandoned to relatives in a religious cult.”

A graduate of Victoria University and a former high school teacher, Fleur Beale wrote the novel inspired by a student’s expulsion and troubles after conflict with his family’s religious beliefs. It was an Honour Book in the 1999 New Zealand Post Awards and US book rights have been sold to a subsidiary of Disney.

Her steady output since 1988 has included 13 children’s and young adult novels, mostly either contemporary social realism with backgrounds such as camping, cars and rally driving, or historical novels such as A Respectable Girl, published simultaneously in UK, and My Story: A New Song in the Land – The Writings of Atapo, Paihia, c. 1840.

Her first children’s book Slide the Corner (1992) also won the Storylines Gaelyn Gordon prize in 2007, and many of her titles have been shortlisted for both the New Zealand Post and LIANZA awards.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hearty congratulations to Fleur - such a worthy achievement and such a modest, hardworking author.