Remember, remember the fifth of November goes the nursery rhyme, and hundreds of thousands of us do, don’t we? I have already been to one bonfire and fireworks display and the family has two more scheduled for the weekend. But I’m delighted to say that, as of today, I now have one more reason to remember this date. Earlier today I received a telephone call from my editor at A&C Black to tell me that One Day In Oradour has been nominated for the 2014 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Wow! All the rockets, Catherine wheels and Roman candles in the world couldn’t match the thrill that this news gave me.
And it was particularly poignant that I received the news when I was just about to start an interview for a documentary film about Oradour-sur-Glane. As I explained to the interviewer, one of my biggest motivators for writing the novel was the fact that the events which took place in this picturesque French village during the Second World War seemed to be relatively unknown outside of France.
I had never heard of Oradour-sur-Glane before my sister-in-law took me there just over ten years ago – and the more I spoke to people about the massacre which took place there on 10th June 1944, the more I realised that very few others had heard about it either. Yet there were 644 death certificates issued for Oradour-sur-Glane on that one tragic day – 191 men, 247 women and 206 children had been murdered. How could I not tell their story?
I am so grateful to A&C Black at Bloomsbury for helping me to share this story with a wider audience and my thanks go to the Carnegie panel for helping to raise the book’s profile further by including it in their list of nominated titles. For it is my hope that, while honouring the memory of those who died, One Day In Oradour can also show future generations the extremes to which human beings can be driven when they are divided by war.