Wilson, Leslie 1952–

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Wilson, Leslie 1952–

PERSONAL: Born 1952, in Nottingham, England; married; children: Jo, Kathy. Education: Durham University, graduated. Hobbies and other interests: Gardening, photography, Chinese martial arts.

ADDRESSES: Home—Berkshire, England. Agent—Sarah Molloy, A.M. Heath and Co. Ltd., 6 Warwick Ct., London WC1R 5DJ, England. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Writer and writing tutor. Former translator.

AWARDS, HONORS: Guardian Children's Fiction Award shortlist, 2004, and Branford Boase Award, 2005, both for Last Train from Kummersdorf.

WRITINGS:

FOR ADULTS

Mourning Is Not Permitted, Women's Press, 1990.

Malefice, Pantheon Books (New York, NY), 1992.

The Mountain of Immoderate Desires, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1994.

FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Last Train from Kummersdorf, Faber & Faber (London, England), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS: One of British author Leslie Wilson's first awards came during childhood: a package of Cadbury creme eggs, won for the budding author's prize story about the origin of Easter eggs. In the years since, Wilson has balanced jobs in adult education and as a translator with her writing career. She published her first adult novel in 1990, and Last Train from Kummersdorf, her first novel for young-adult readers, was released in 2005.

Inspired by the memories of Wilson's mother, Last Train from Kummersdorf brings readers back to 1945 Germany, during the days leading up to the end of World War II. In this highly acclaimed novel, two streetwise teens, sixteen-year-old Hanno and communist resistance-fighter Effi, meet while hiding in rural Germany and find themselves on the run as Hitler's Reich crumbles around them. With no family and no home, the teens rely on their wits and what the land will provide. In an amoral world full of desperate people, where laws no longer exist, they find that threats can lurk in the most unlikely places. As Geraldine Bedell noted in her review of the book for the London Observer, Wilson's "beautifully written" novel brings to life the terror felt by "two teenagers who have lost almost everything, but hold on doggedly, somehow, to the exuberance and optimism of their youth."

Geared for older readers, Wilson's novel Malefice takes place in seventeenth-century England and follows the last days of a doomed woman who is ultimately executed for witchcraft by her fellow villagers. The narration alternates back and forth between Alice Slade as she sits in her jail cell and the thoughts of her friends, family and fellow villagers leading up to her dreary fate. "Wilson's lean, uncluttered prose evokes this distant era with the earthy resonance of folktales," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Observer (London, England), April 11, 2004, Geraldine Bedell, "Reality Check."

Publishers Weekly, April 12, 1993, review of Malefice, p. 48; October 31, 1994, review of The Mountain of Immoderate Desires, p. 45.

School Librarian, spring, 2004, review of Last Train from Kummersdorf, p. 49.

ONLINE

Guardian Unlimited, http://books.guardian.co.uk/ (October 12, 2004), Claire Armitstead, review of Last Train from Kummersdorf.

Leslie Wilson Web site, http://www.lesliewilson.co.uk (December 11, 2005).

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