Author Sarah Crossan - recognised as a definite ‘one to watch’ in the literary scene - says she can’t wait until her next visit back to Derry, where she will drink in the “energy” which is filling our streets during our year as City of Culture.
Although raised in Dublin and now living in England, Sarah’s father Kevin is resident in Derry and she feels an affiliation with the banks of the Foyle.
“There is just so much going on in Derry at the moment - that I can’t wait to get back and experience some of what is on offer this year,” Sarah said.
But as the mum of a nine month baby girl - and as an author who is making waves in the young adult scene - Sarah will have a job on her hands to get back to the North.
Just this week her debut novel ‘The Weight of Water’ was awarded the CBI Eilis Dillon award for best debut novel.
It has been shortlisted for a host of prestigious awards including the Carnegie medal 2013 - and has been received to great critical acclaim by the book industry and reviewers alike.
But this is no ordinary Young Adult book - it is written entirely in verse.
“It was difficult,” Sarah admits. “It is easier to write in prose - when I write in prose I write straight onto the computer but in verse I hand write.
“Editing is tougher - every comma or full stop makes a difference to the flow of the piece.”
‘The Weight of Water’ tells the story of Polish girl Kasienka and her mother who head for for England armed with only a suitcase.
Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother’s heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce.
But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.
Writing ‘The Weight of Water’ was a departure for Sarah who worked for several years as an English teacher while working on her first adult novel.
However as she wrote more and more she “found the book started to feel bitty and mixed up” and she decided to move into writing for a younger market.
After the publication of ‘The Weight of Water’ - Sarah has published another book, a dystopian novel called ‘Breathe’ set in a future world where oxygen comes at a price. She plans to publish a follow up to that in October and is working on a follow up to ‘The Weight of Water’ at present.
Winning the Eilis Dillon award she said “was a great feeling”. “To be recognised in your own country is something else. I’m always telling people how proud I am to be Irish - but I don’t sound like it - so at least they believe me now!”