How to pronounce Amanda Hodgkinson: HAHJ-kin-son (like hodge-podge)
Hodgkinson has an MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. After the MA, she and her husband, with our two young daughters, upped sticks and bought a property in south west France. The first few years were tough, because of the settling in, and she couldn't find time to write.
But finally 22 Britannia Road, her debut novel was completed and became an international bestseller. Her new book Spilt Milk published in February 2014 (Penguin Books) and a novella Tin Town (Grand Central Penguin US) will be published in summer 2016.
Amanda Hodgkinson's website
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Amanda Hodgkinson Discusses 22 Britannia Road
What drew you to this particular story of Polish World War II survivors living in England?
As a child, I was always fascinated when the adults around me talked about World War II. These were older family members who had lived through it, and I would try to stay quiet so I could listen without being discovered. Their voices changed to lower registers, there were weighted silences in the conversations, sad looks, secretive whispering, and then somebody would notice me and send me out to play, their voice swinging up a register to convey a gaiety they probably didn't feel.
The stories were about families and relationships. Mostly they were about the difficulties of people coming back together in peacetime. Of damaged men coming home from war and women trying to pick up the pieces. Of families broken by separations and children born out of wedlock. Of British GI brides waving good-bye to their families, joining American husbands, and of European immigrants, pale and gaunt, arriving on ships, hoping to begin new, safe lives in postwar Britain. I would go to bed at night, sick at heart thinking about these stories, and wonder how the world ever managed to get back to normal after that...
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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