Damaris Young’s first novel for children, the Switching Hour is a story of survival and stolen dreams set against a drought stricken African backdrop. She wrote the book while studying on the creative writing for young people MA at Bath Spa university where she was influenced by Frances Hardinge’s the Lie Tree, one of the Tygertale 100 best children’s books of the 21st century.
Like the Switching Hour, the Lie Tree features an antagonistic force of nature, hungry for people’s innermost dreams and desires. This phantasmagorical Victorian murder mystery won the Costa book of the year in 2015, the first children’s book to break the glass ceiling of literary respectability since Philip Pullman won for the Amber Spyglass in 2000. It’s an equally ambitious and accomplished novel and one that perfectly balances its deep themes with roistering adventure.
In this week’s Deeper Reading podcast, Damaris discusses how the Lie Tree inspired her to create a cast of strong female characters and how her own experiences growing up in central and southern Africa combined with a love of fantasy to produce a memorable new fable for children living through the climate crisis.
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