First book for prize winner

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A PRIZE-winning writer from Harrogate is celebrating the publication of her first book.

A J Ashworth’s short story collection Somewhere Else, or Even Here has just been published by Salt, after she won their prestigious Scott Prize earlier this year.

Andrea, who works in academic publishing, wrote most of the stories as part of an MA in Writing, which she graduated from with a distinction last year.

Her work has already garnered praise from some of the country’s top writers, including novelists Maggie Gee and Vanessa Gebbie, and she has been listed in competitions.

The 38-year-old said: “I’ve always tried to write and I think I wrote my first book of poetry when I was about seven!

“I got more serious a few years back and decided to do the MA to try and improve my work. The stories I wrote during that formed the bulk of the manuscript which went on to win the Salt competition.”

The former journalist said one of the stories in the collection had been inspired by the region and was written after a visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield.

She said: “I can get inspiration from anywhere, but one of the stories called Bone Fire was inspired by a photographic exhibition I saw at the park.

“It was a series of photos of bonfires made by children and that got me thinking about a deeply unhappy teenager using a bonfire to carry out an act of destruction at his school.”

Andrea’s book is now available to buy from and soon from online and high street bookshops.

THIS month’s book for review is the festive classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.

Whether you have read it before, or are enjoying it for the first time this year, we want to know what you think of it.

And we want your views on the many adaptations which have been made over the years, including which you think is the most successful.

Send your review of around 150 words, along with your name and where you live, to by Sunday, December 18. We will publish as many of your reviews as we can in the next edition of the Weekend Book Club.

Meanwhile, if you enjoy spooky, festive tales, turn to Pages 24 and 25 for the three winning entries in the ghost story competition run by the Friends of Harrogate Library with support from the Harrogate Advertiser series.

AN AUTHOR from Knaresborough has written a book looking at women’s lives through history.

Jennifer Newby, who was brought up in the town, focused on social history between 1800 and 1930 after finding the voices of housewives, factory girls and servants had gone unrecorded.

Among her subjects are rebellious servant Hannah Cullwick, daring aristocrat Lady Colin Campbell and prostitute Ellen Reece. The book explores the day-to-day lives of everyone from domestic servants, factory workers and criminals to middle class women and aristocrats.

Women’s Lives is published by Pen and Sword, priced £12.99.

A BOOK looking at the effect of bereavement has been launched in Boston Spa.

Christine Neligan to write her personal memoir, Life is But a Dream – and held two launch events for 80 people at the town’s Oasis School of Human Resources, where she is non-executive director.

She said: “My daughter Abi died in 1984. She was the youngest of our four children and aged almost three when she died very suddenly.

“Even though it is 27 years since she died, she is still remembered with much love.

“I wrote the book to explore how losing Abi affected our family. I began writing it as a means of remembering her, hoping it would be helpful for our family, then I realised that perhaps it could be helpful for other families who were experiencing bereavement.”

The book includes the experiences of Abi’s parents, siblings, grandparents and great aunt and the launch was also a chance to celebrate Abi’s life.

ONE family adventure book which looks perfect for a Christmas present is The Moonstone Legacy. Written by local authors Diana de Gunzburg and Tony Wild, was published by Puskin Press in the UK last year and is already in its fifth reprint.

WHEN children’s author Emma Barnes visited Harrogate Library last month, she attracted a crowd of young children keen to meet her.

She read from her new book, How (Not) To Make Bad Children Good and conducted a quiz to find out how many of the chidlren were “little stinkers” like the book’s heroine, Martha Bones.

Surprisingly large numbers admitted to such misdeeds as sneaking sweets into the supermarket trolley - and even flushing their homework down the toilet.

Emma said she wrote the book in part to celebrate the fun and anarchy of naughtiness.

“We are all so anxious now about how children behave,” she said.

“I wanted to return to the tradition of Just William, where childhood scrapes are not threatening, but fun.”

In How (Not) to Make Bad Children Good, aimed at children aged seven or above, Martha’s behaviour is so bad it attracts the attention of an Interstellar Agency which is responsible for making bad children good.

Ever since she bit Father Christmas when she was six months old, it’s been downhill all the way for Martha. She is horrible to her baby brother, Boris, and elder sister, Sally, and her parents are in despair.

The Interstellar Agency sends Guardian Agent Fred to try and show Martha the error of her ways.

For more information about Emma Barnes and her books, visit

We have three signed copies of How (Not) To Make Bad Children Good to give away. To be in with a chance of winning, just answer this question:

In How (Not) To Make Bad Children Good, what kind of bad child is Martha?

a) A stinker

b) A scamp

c) A rascal

Send your entry to with the subject “Competition” by the closing date of Thursday, December 15 at 5pm, including your name, full address and contact details.

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