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Lesung Sally Nicholls in der Alten Kaserne, 10a und Mr Katzbichler

Sally Nicholls (left) reads excerpts from her new book Close Your Pretty Eyes (German title: Wünsche sind für Versager)

“Meet the author”: award-winning novelist Sally Nicholls at Alte Kaserne


“Most of my books are quite dark”, said Sally Nicholls, a British young-adult literature author, when one of our pupils asked her about her motives for writing books that crackle with unhappiness. All 10th graders from Gymnasium Seligenthal recently had the chance to enjoy a reading by the famous and award-winning novelist at the Alte Kaserne in Landshut. “I have a habit of killing off half of Europe, or giving my characters multiple mental illnesses”, said Nicholls in the question-and-answer session after the reading.


While this is definitely true for her third book, which is set during the Medieval Black Death that wiped out half the population (All Fall Down), it is also true for her fourth novel Nicholls vividly read parts of to our 10th graders. Close Your Pretty Eyes (German title: Wünsche sind für Versager) is quite unusual in young adult fiction in having a main character who is younger than the target audience. Nonetheless, it is one of those special reads that grips you at page one and then makes it impossible for you to put it down.


Close Your Pretty Eyes is a haunting novel partly based on a real story. The character of 11-year-old Olivia Glass, a damaged young girl who has grown up in the care system, is sent to live at a secluded farmhouse (her 16th home). Although she begins to bond with her new family, she is badly affected by living at a house that was once the site of a baby farm run by Amelia Dyer. Dyer was a real Victorian villain, who may have killed up to 400 children. Olivia starts to believe that the house is haunted and she begins to have murderous impulses. The disturbed child behaves aggressively and often illogically, which sometimes makes the novel a hard read in many ways. However, Sally Nicholl’s fine job of presenting the reasons for the child’s behaviour makes it a very sensitive and powerful book, which definitely should be part of everyone’s reading bucket list for the upcoming holidays.


The chance to meet the author of a popular novel, which was read in parts in class before, to ask her questions and for a signature was very exciting, entertaining and informative at the same time. Special thanks for organizing this event and making it possible go to Mr Menauer (Fachschaft Englisch) as well as Ms Verhoven (Stadtbibliothek Landshut).



class 10a with Mr Katzbichler

Autor: ZIF | Datum: 12.09.2018