World Book Night is a national celebration that takes place on the 23 April every year. The purpose is to recognise the difference reading makes to people’s lives. This year at Wareham Library, Gail Aldwin, author of fiction and poetry, shared her experiences in moving from a child who was a reluctant reader to becoming a published author. Gail says, ‘due to intermittent hearing loss learning to read through phonics, where sounds are matched to letters, was difficult and reading became very hard work. By the age of ten I could decode a text but it took several more years to see books as a source of interest and pleasure.’ For Gail, the turning point in this journey was reading her elder sister’s copy of Valley of the Dolls a book she certainly wasn’t meant to be reading with its story of young women using capsules known as ‘dolls’ to help them survive in the entertainment industry.
In terms of her writing journey, Gail discovered a box of letters she had written during travels in her twenties and thirties and this sparked an interest in writing. After several attempts at completing a publishable novel, Gail struck upon the idea of a child lost in France to inform The String Games, a coming of age novel which will be released in May 2019 by Victorina Press.
The evening was organised by staff at Wareham Library who supported the Q & A with Gail. Everyone who came to the event was invited to join a quiz which included questions about books selected for distribution to a range of settings as part of World Book Night. There was also a book swap to facilitate the sharing of favourite novels and non-fiction books.
For more information about Gail Aldwin, please visit her blog The Writer is a Lonely Hunter.