The New Policeman is up for the Whitbread Book of the Year Award
Kate Thompson, three times winner of Bisto Book of the Year Award, has now won the prestigious Whitbread Children's Book Award for her novel The New Policeman and is up for the Whitbread Book of the Year Award, the winner of which will be announced at the end of January.
The title The New Policeman will have an intended clang-reaction in many minds with The Third Policeman, but the book is more than just a tribute to Flann O'Brien: it stands firmly in its own literary territory. The world of surrealism and actuality that it explores is totally original and contains many elemental ideas about time – past, present and future – and the continuing influence of legends and music.
The story is that of 15 year old traditional fiddler JJ Liddy, who on learning of a terrible family secret regarding the murder of a priest, crosses through the time wall into Tír na nÓg, which is under threat from a leakage of time from our overstressed world.
JJ hears the story of what happened between the original inhabitants of Ireland and the Christianised successors, nick-named 'Plodders'. But he also has his own destiny to pursue. This book is thought-provoking, informative, and bristling with life and vivid characters. It provides us with transcriptions of Irish tunes, an explanation of what happens to lost socks and a very good joke about Stradivarius. A major achievement.
The New Policeman By Kate Thompson fromThe Bodley Head, €16.50 Ages 12+