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Caithness author announced as international book prize finalist

By David G Scott

A CAITHNESS teacher has much to crow about with the announcement she is a finalist in a prestigious book awards.

Judith Crow, a teacher at Noss Primary School in Wick, has reached the finals of the Wishing Shelf Book Awards (WSBA) with her novel The Backwater.

Judith said: “It was such a fabulous feeling when I saw the book listed.

"It was the first book I ever managed to finish but there was a long time before I dared to get it published."

Judith Crow holding The Backwater and her finalist medal.
Judith Crow holding The Backwater and her finalist medal.

The Backwater is a young adult ghost story, published by Crowvus and launched at John O’Groats' Groatie Buckie gift shop in November 2018.

It was written using the criteria laid down by the great M R James for ghost stories and transplants that into the 21st century.

When Rebecca Williams’ mother dies, she is sent from the city to rural Lincolnshire to live with her father.

What she finds is a quiet, unassuming man who lives alone on a large country estate.

Lonely and nervous, Rebecca makes friends with a boy she meets at the lake. However, as their friendship develops, she discovers that her new friend is haunted by a secret which Rebecca must first unearth before it can be laid to rest.

The Backwater weaves together the guilt of the living and the anger of the dead to produce a chilling but tender story of one girl's struggle to find her place in the world.

Judith said: "One of the most wonderful things about the WSBA is that the finalists for the children and young adult categories are actually chosen by the target audience.”

WSBA accepts entries from independent publishers across all English-speaking countries and is now in its fifth year.

There were 383 entries across six categories up for the prize this year, with the finalists for the young adult category being selected by pupils from high schools and their teachers.

Judith is also a member of the John O’Groats Book Festival committee and will be appearing at a festival event entitled Author Appetisers on Friday, April 24.

The winners of the WSBA prize will be announced on April 1.

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