Family learning, The People’s Book Prize and The String Games

Today, I’m taking a back seat and handing my blog over to friend and Dorset-based author, Gail Aldwin. I first met Gail in 2018 when she pitched her debut novel, The String Games, to the panel of  Dragons at Chudleigh Literary Festival. Fourteen months on, the novel is published and Gail has some exciting news to share; and a request for all of us.

I am delighted my debut novel The String Games has been longlisted in The People’s Book Prize for fiction 2019. It’s a coming-of-age story that charts the legacy of loss for Nim following the abduction and murder of her younger brother when she is ten years of age. Although the catalyst is a traumatic event, the novel celebrates the possibility of new starts and fresh beginnings. In writing this novel, I drew upon my teaching experience to capture Nim’s voice. And, as I am committed to teaching and learning, I was thrilled to discover The People’s Book Prize supports the complete eradication of illiteracy.

For several years I worked in the field of family learning. This is where programmes are offered in schools to help parents support the learning of their children. As part of the input, parents are also able to address weaknesses in their own literacy skills. This is achieved by studying how children learn and what parents can do to support learning in the home. These adult-only sessions are delivered in the morning and then in the afternoon, parents and children work alongside each other. In this way, adults are able to put the learning into practice.

Outcomes from family learning programmes include the enduring relationships that are built between parents and school staff. Some of the participants from family learning programmes went on to become school governors or trained to work as teaching assistants. It was a delight at the end of each course to acknowledge the skills and confidence developed by parents and their children through a presentation.

With this background in supporting adult literacy, I was so pleased to find my novel showcased on the longlist of The People’s Book Prize, an organisation committed to stamping out illiteracy. Other aims include offering empowerment to the public to vote for the winning titles. This is where you can help. You can find out all about The String Games on The People’s Book Prize website.

To vote, all you need to do is scroll down to add your details, tick the newsletter box and submit. It will only take a minute or two to complete the process but if you vote for The String Games, I’ll be forever grateful.

Praise for The String Games

“The author writes really well and the attention to detail and the authentic feel to the narrative make this a compelling and thought provoking read.” Jo Barton, Jaffa Reads Too

“A story with an astute and lucid understanding of what it means to be a female growing up in a world of adversity and loss.” Linda Hill, Linda’s Book Bag

“Aldwin blends her dark and light with an artistic touch, leaving the reader with just enough detail to ask ‘What would I do?’” J J Marsh, Bookmuse

“I fell in love with this tale of grief and loss … a wonderful read and highly recommended.” Laura, Jerra’s Jamboree

About Gail Aldwin

Settled in Dorset since 2006, Gail Aldwin has lived in Australia, Papua New Guinea and Spain. Her published work includes a debut novel The String Games which won a finalist badge for its cover design and is longlisted in the fiction category of The People’s Book Prize 2019. Her collection of short fiction Paisley Shirt, was longlisted in the Saboteur Awards 2018. She also writes poetry and her pamphlet adversaries/comrades was published in 2019. As part of 3-She, Gail co-writes short plays and comedy sketches that have been staged in Bridport, Brighton and Salisbury. Gail appears at literary festivals and fringe festivals in London and the South West.

You can read the opening chapter of the novel and purchase a copy of The String Games for distribution worldwide from Victorina Press.

For further information about family learning see The Campaign for Learning.


By Elizabeth Ducie

Elizabeth Ducie was a successful international manufacturing consultant, when she decided to give it all up and start telling lies for a living instead.

Comments (1)

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.