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Norwich School teacher set to publish her debut book

07:00 17 March 2016

Author Eleanor Wasserberg with her first book Foxlowe.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY.

Author Eleanor Wasserberg with her first book Foxlowe. Picture: ANTONY KELLY.

Archant Norfolk 2016

From the classroom of a Norwich school to the fictitious gothic world of her debut novel, teacher Eleanor Wasserberg is looking forward to her first book being published this summer.

Author Eleanor Wasserberg with her first book Foxlowe. Picture: ANTONY KELLY.Author Eleanor Wasserberg with her first book Foxlowe. Picture: ANTONY KELLY.

Thirty-two-year-old Miss Wasserberg, who teaches English and Classics at Norwich School, is to realise a long-held dream of becoming a published author when her book Foxlowe hits the book shelves in June.

“I feel incredibly excited, incredibly nervous, I cannot really believe it’s happening still,” said Miss Wasserberg, who began writing stories as a girl and studied an MA in creative writing at the University of East Anglia.

Her book has been largely inspired by the wild landscapes of Staffordshire, the county where she grew up, and while it took about five years for Miss Wasserberg to write and redraft the book, it was quickly snapped up by publisher 4th Estate.

“It is really inspired by the landscape where I grew up. It’s about a girl who grows up in a place called Foxlowe, a commune in the Staffordshire Moorlands,” said Miss Wasserberg, who was born in Leek and moved to Stoke-on-Trent when she was 11.

Author and Norwich School teacher Eleanor Wasserberg, right, with her first book Foxlowe and Norwich School pupil Gertrude Gibbons with her book The Phaistos Disk. 
Picture: ANTONY KELLY.Author and Norwich School teacher Eleanor Wasserberg, right, with her first book Foxlowe and Norwich School pupil Gertrude Gibbons with her book The Phaistos Disk. Picture: ANTONY KELLY.

“The Staffordshire Moorlands is full of these incredibly spooky, wild parts, but it is not very well known. There are these ancient sites that sit undisturbed. It’s an open secret. There are these incredible, spooky, evocative spaces hidden in plain sight in England.”

About her book, she added: “Foxlowe is a gothic tale about a childhood like no other. It’s a strange childhood [of a girl called Green] and her journey to understand her journey.

“It is violent, dark, it’s quite bleak, but hopefully there are moments of redemption in it.”

Miss Wasserberg will be talking about her new book later this month at a Norwich School Literary Evening which is open to the public.

“The literary evening is going to be the first time I have had a chance to talk about Foxlowe in public, it’s going to be a lovely first opportunity to talk about the book,” she said.

“I wrote a lot of it at The Forum and the UEA library, so it’s really nice it is going to be introduced here.”

She is also already busy writing a second book as she has a two book deal with her publisher.

“Book two is completely different, a historical fiction set in Poland. It’s about a painting called The Girl in the Red Dress.”

And Miss Wasserberg, who has been teaching at Norwich School for three years and runs a creative writing group for pupils, hopes her success as an author is also inspiring for the children she teaches.

“I try to encourage the children here to see writing as something that is important and that can be a career. It took me a long time to see that.

It was going to the UEA that changed things for me,” she said,

Foxlowe will be published by 4th Estate in the UK in June this year and by Penguin US in 2017.

NORWICH SCHOOL LITERARY EVENING

Eleanor Wasserberg will be joined by a number of other authors for the Norwich School Literary Evening at Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry on Wednesday, March 23.

Each writer has a connection to the school, and among them is current Norwich School pupil Gertrude Gibbons who published her first novel - The Phaistos Disc - in 2013 when she was just 14.

Gertrude, who is now 17 and in upper sixth, based her first book on a game about the four elements which she played with her twin and two cousins.

About her debut book, which was published by Ankrapath Press, she said: “It’s a quest of these four elements to each get a quarter of this Phaistos Disk - and these quarters are hidden through different layers of time - to save the sun from becoming a black hole.”

Now she is working on a second book which she hopes to finish this year.

She said: “I am writing one about a violinist who cannot speak and it’s about the interception of different languages, the language of music and the language of words.

“It’s the idea that sometimes when you hear music it can almost sound like a voice. The boy in my story can play and cannot speak and there’s only one person that can understand.”

Other writers taking part in the literary evening include: D.J. Taylor, a novelist, biographer and literary critic who has had two books long-listed for the Booker Prize; Rachel Hore, who teaches creative writing and publishing at UEA, has penned eight novels, and whose latest book is called The House on Bellevue Gardens; Rory Clements, author of historical spy thrillers including Martyr, Revenger and Holy Spy, which are soon to be adapted for the screen; children’s author Roderick Gordon, whose teen fiction series Tunnels has sold more than one million copies worldwide.

The Norwich School Literary Evening will be on Wednesday, March 23 at the Weston Room of Norwich Cathedral’s Hostry. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.

Admission is free but places must be booked in advance by emailing library@norwich-school.org.uk

For more, visit www.norwich-school.org.uk

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