• St Catherine's School
  • Station Road
  • Bramley
  • Guildford
  • Surrey GU5 0DF
  • Senior School: +44 (0)1483 893363
  • Preparatory School: +44 (0)1483 899665

Librarians’ Literary Lecture

Telling Tales at St Catherine’s

Reading a Frances Hardinge novel is like nothing else in this world.  Deliciously descriptive, frightening dark, wonderfully complex and thoroughly enjoyable are the first words that leap to mind.  Frances Hardinge, who’s most recent books include Cuckoo and The Lie Tree, mesmerised girls aged 9-13 years old at St Catherine’s School, with tales of her childhood and how she drew upon this weird and sinister background of living in small, remote, sleepy little villages dotted around England.  She is the first to admit that writing was in her blood having spent her life surrounded by books with little else to do.  Her parents loved books and read to her constantly and really that is how it all began. 

Now she has some award-winning novels under her belt and is much more comfortable talking about her journey.  Her latest book, The Lie Tree, was just awarded the prestigious Costa Children’s Book Award and has also been nominated for the Carnegie Book Award.  In The Lie Tree, a unique blend of history and fantasy set in Victorian England, the main character Faith tries to unfold the secrets behind the death of her father – a man of the cloth, gentleman scientist and traditional patriarch.  Faith is all the more interesting as she rebels against Victorian conventions about a woman’s role in society and right to be valued in her own right.  These dilemmas resonated deeply with the pupils as they seek to identify their own place in the world and how their roles are also changing in such a global, ever-evolving society.