Constable, Kate 1966–

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Constable, Kate 1966–

Personal

Born 1966, in Sandringham, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; father a pilot; married; husband's name Michael; children: Alice, one other daughter. Education: Melbourne University, degree in arts/law.

Addresses

Home—Thornbury, Victoria, Australia. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Allen & Unwin, 9 Atchinson St., Sydney, New South Wales 2065, Australia. E-mail[email protected]

Career

Children's book writer. Warner Music, administrative assistant for thirteen years. Formerly worked as a waitress.

Awards, Honors

Second prize, HQ short story competition, 1996; Editors Choice, Booklist, Lasting Connections, Book Links, Amelia Bloomer Honor List, American Library Association, and New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age citation, all 2004, all for The Singer of All Songs.

Writings

"CHANTERS OF TREMARIS" TRILOGY

The Singer of All Songs, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2002, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2004.

The Waterless Sea, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2003, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Tenth Power, Allen & Unwin (Crows Nest, New South Wales, Australia), 2005, Arthur A. Levine Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Constable's books have been translated into Danish, Japanese, and Slovenian

OTHER

Contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including Meanjin, Writing, Island, and Ulitarra.

Adaptations

The books in the "Chanters of Tremaris" trilogy were adapted as audio recordings.

Sidelights

Australian writer Kate Constable is best know for her young-adult novels in the "Chanters of Tremaris" trilogy. Set on the world of Tremaris, the novels The Singer of All Songs, The Waterless Sea, and The Tenth Power follow Calwyn, a gifted teen who expects to become a priestess, but realizes that her world is much larger, and far more in need of her skills, than she ever could have dreamed.

Constable's trilogy begins as Calwyn aids a stranger, Darrow, after he passes through the ice wall that keeps her village safe from outsiders. Calwyn becomes wrapped up in Darrow's quest; the stranger is being hunted by a sorcerer who is determined to master all nine forms of magic, something that might allow him to control the world. According to Sue Bursztynski in January online, The Singer of All Songs "is constructed of the very stuff that makes for classic fantasy." David Beagley, writing in the Bendigo Advertiser, noted that Constable "has managed to people her tale with well-drawn,

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[Image not available for copyright reasons]

realistic characters and they create the world of Tremaris for us by making it believable and consistent." Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson dubbed the novel "an impressive debut by an author who clearly has much to contribute to the fantasy genre."

Calwyn's adventures continue in The Waterless Sea, because while she and her companions have been able to stop the sorcerer from learning the nine forms of music to control Tremaris's magic, their troubles are not yet over. Now a pirate enlists them to rescue two children from a sorcerer who has kidnapped them, intending to combine the children's skills with his own magic as a way to achieve a dubious outcome. As Bursztynski commented in January online, Constable "doesn't write 'down' to her audience: the protagonists are young, but that's all." School Library Journal critic Melissa Moore also praised Constable's style, noting that the Aussie author's prose "is more refined" in the series' second installment, "her setting more detailed, and her main characters are taking fuller shape." According to Kliattcontributor Carol Kellerman, "just enough information is given, and conflicts left unresolved, to pique one's interest in the anticipated third installment."

In The Tenth Power, the final volume of the trilogy, Calwyn's own powers are lost at the worst possible time: just as she discovers that the enemy she thought was dead has returned. Now she must learn to find strengths beyond her magic if she is to learn how to conquer the Tenth Power, a secret magic that could save her friends from a mysterious illness. "Fans … will be eager to see book one's vulnerable, callow adolescent arrive at both fuller self-knowledge and her long-awaited destiny," wrote Booklist contributor Jennifer Mattson. "At its heart," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor, The Tenth Power "is a story of taking responsibility, of finding strength even when you think you've lost it all." Kliatt reviewer Deirdre Root found the conclusion to the series "both surprising and wholly satisfying."

On her home page, Constable discussed her career as a writer. "It has been extremely hard work, but I couldn't ask for a more satisfying or fulfilling life," she explained. "It's always wonderful to meet or hear from people who have enjoyed the books, though I still find it hard to believe that they are out there in the world, independent of me and passing from person to person without me knowing anything about their secret life!"

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Advertiser (Bendigo, Australia), December 7, 2002, David Beagley, review of The Singer of All Songs; October 4, 2003, review of The Waterless Sea.

Booklist, December 15, 2003, review of The Singer of All Songs; February 1, 2004, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 974; October 1, 2004, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 352; January 1, 2005, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 772; May 15, 2005, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Waterless Sea, p. 1651; March 15, 2006, Jennifer Mattson, review of The Tenth Power, p. 43.

Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2004, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 175; February 15, 2006, review of The Tenth Power, p. 180.

Kliatt, November, 2004, Carol Reich, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 51; September, 2005, Carol Keller-man, audiobook review of The Waterless Sea, p. 58; November, 2005, Deirdre Root, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 20; March, 2006, Deirdre Root, review of The Tenth Power, p. 8.

Magpies, September, 2002, Jo Goodman, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 38; November, 2003, review of The Waterless Sea, p. 41; March, 2005, review of The Tenth Power, p. 47.

Publishers Weekly, March 1, 2004, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 70.

School Library Journal, April, 2004, Farida S. Dowler, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 152; October, 2004, Barbara Wysocki, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 85; July, 2005, Cindy Lombardo, review of The Waterless Sea, p. 60; August, 2005, Melissa Moore, review of The Waterless Sea, p. 122; March, 2006, Farida S. Dowler, review of The Tenth Power, p. 220.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 2004, Donna Scanlon, review of The Singer of All Songs, p. 56; August, 2005, Donna Scanlon, review of The Waterless Sea, p. 232.

ONLINE

January Online, http://www.janmag.com/ (July 1, 2003), Sue Bursztynski, review of The Singer of All Songs; (August 1, 2003) Sue Bursztynski, review of The Waterless Sea.

Kate Constable Home Page, http://www.kateconstable.com (June 26, 2006).

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