Paul Dowswell



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April 29, 2013

More ‘Eleven Eleven’

The story is brutal, violent and staggeringly effective… (its) powerful plot, characters and atmospheric descriptions are astonishingly vivid. This is a superb eye-opening book. It is especially welcome as an antidote to the proliferation of gung-ho militaristic adventure-story books for young adults of recent years.

Thank you to Chris Brown of the School Library magazine, Spring, 2013.

April 22, 2013

Historical Association Young Quills Award 2013

Delight to see ‘Eleven Eleven’ is one of five books on the Historical Association shortlist. My two previous books, ‘Sektion 20’ and ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ were also shortlisted for this award, and Sektion 20 was last year’s winner. Thank you to the Historical Association for shining a light on my books!

April 6, 2013

Book Award Short-list

Very pleased to hear my book ‘The Story of the Second World War’, is one of three titles shortlisted for the 12-16 category in the School Library Association’s ‘2013 Information Book of the Year’. The result will be announced in the autumn.

I spend most of my time writing fiction, but I do enjoy non-fiction projects and was lucky enough to work with a brilliant team at Usborne for this one.

March 27, 2013


Eye surgery performed with courtesy and agility by the surgeon and anaesthetist at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton. Out of action for a couple of weeks. Am now 1% plastic with new lens in left eye.

March 18-24

Paris and Battersea in the Spring

Wednesday at Newton Prep in Battersea and looked after generously by Nelia Beyers and her colleagues. A lovely school full of bright, lively minds.

Saturday to Paris for the Book Fair. Many thanks to my French publisher Naïve who had me over to promote their edition of ‘Sektion 20’, which has a brilliant new cover.

March 11-15

Mad Week 2

Off to Wood Green in Oxfordshire and Dormston in Sedgely, to talk about ‘Eleven Eleven’ and ‘Auslander’. Thank you to Judith Bovingdon and Zoe Rowley. Both trips a real pleasure. Dormston students are off to Auschwitz and I’m glad school children are still willing to witness the remains of one the most appalling crimes of the 20th Century. It’s not every week you do something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Also down to London for the book launch of Lucy Lethbridge’s fascinating, beautifully written ‘Servants’, at Daunts Bookshop on Marylebone High Street. Lucy has had her book reviewed by such pillars of good and evil as the Today programme and the Daily Mail and it does deserve its success. (Currently the number one selling history book as I write!)

March 4-8

Mad Week 1

Marvellous week doing talks and writing workshops in three complete different schools: Ormiston Bolingbroke in Runcorn, Cardinal Vaughn School in Holland Park, and Beechwood in Tunbridge Wells. Thank you to David Traves, Alison Bugg and Emily Blakey for their kindness and hospitality. All three of these schools are staffed by dedicated teachers and librarians who create a climate which allows their pupils to flourish.

March 1, 2013

Information award

Pleased to see ‘The Story of the Second World War’, an information book I wrote last year for Usborne Publishing, is one of six books up for the 12-16 School Library Association’s ‘Information Book of the Year’.

More reviews for Eleven Eleven

Also pleased to see my latest book is still picking up positive reviews:

Dowswell is good at blending believable fictional characters with authentic historical details into a potent gripping narrative… there is a thrill and a truth that will keep readers hooked until the end. South China Morning Post

Plenty of books about the First World War have been written for children but not many are as harrowing and gripping as this…FirstNews

February 2013

Immersed in a new novel set in Moscow during the Second World War, due for delivery in the Spring, and worrying about the heating bills!

School visits

Two great trips over the last month for book talks and writing workshops at St Mary’s, Cambridge, and Cecil Jones College, Southend on Sea. Lovely kids in both and thank you to teachers and librarians for having me visit.

Coming up over the next month: school visits to Hull, Runcorn, Tunbridge Wells, Oxfordshire, Sedgley, Holland Park and Battersea. I still have time and space for school visits in May, June and July, and into the autumn term, if you would like to contact me at:

Also have trips to Paris at end of March for the Book Fair, and possibly Amsterdam in April, and excited to have been asked to visit Australia in 2014 to work at a writing retreat in Tasmania.

Times Ed Sup

Pleased to see a piece I wrote on Historical Fiction reproduced in this week’s Times Educational Supplement.


December 2012

Some final entries for 2012. Thank you for visiting and have a merry Christmas!

Eleven Eleven news

Very pleased to see Eleven Eleven has been selected as a teenage book of the year by The Independent.

This is a sombre and bleak story of war which will sit well alongside the poetry and factual accounts of life in the trenches and in the air. It is a deep and sad story… made so poignant because it all takes place on the last morning, leading up to Eleven Eleven.

The Booktrust also announced it was their book of the month!

Auslander in Holland

Dutch publishers Callenbach tell me that Auslander has sold 10,000 in hardback and send a lovely picture of a cake they had made to celebrate! Thank you to Wilma Seijbel and all at Callenbach for their support.

Sektion 20 for Carnegie

Glad to see Sektion 20 has made the Carnegie longlist for 2013. We live in hope!

1-8th December
Visit to Austria

Out to the magnificent Viva Mayr Centre on Lake Worthersee to give two talks and partake in their detox diet. Thank you to all the staff for having me over and looking after me so well and to Carolyn Kohl and Charlie Viney for arranging it.

December 1, 2012

Guest Blogging Down Under

I love Australia, so I’m really pleased to be guest blogger for a month on the magnificently named ‘Inside a Dog’ website, courtesy the State Library of Victoria:

November 30, 2012

More Eleven Eleven reviews

Couple more on my latest book, including this from the splendid YOUNGREADERSWESTSIX blog:

Page-turning as ever, Eleven Eleven lives and breathes exhausted countryside and exhausted men, kept barely alive by gallows humour, small kindnesses and impossible hope. I don’t recall ever reading a better children’s book about the Great War.

This new blog is full of fascinating pieces on children’s fiction and well worth a look.

There’s also this one from Joy Court at ’Reading Zone’:

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the start of World War 1, we will begin to be inundated by books and stories… If they are all as good as this one then we will have a generation who understand the full horror of war and the terrible waste of lives not much older than theirs…

Thanks, Joy.


‘Eleven Eleven’ School Visits

Always exciting to travel around the country talking about my books. Over the last month I’ve given talks about ‘Eleven Eleven’ at Chester Festival, St David’s High School in Saltney, and St Catherine’s in Surrey, with Rokeby in Kingston, coming up next week. Trips to Tunbridge Wells, Southend on Sea, Battersea and Hull loom in the new year. Please contact me through this website if you would like me to visit your school.

November 15, 2012

More reviews for ‘Eleven Eleven’

The main thrust of this thrilling novel — the futility of war — is vividly portrayed through the actions and interaction of three sometimes puzzled and overwhelmed young men. The Irish Examiner

This action-packed thriller combines historical detail with three very personal stories of courage, strength and tragedy, to produce a gripping and thought-provoking account of the final hours of a brutal conflict. This powerful page-turner is ideal for use in history teaching, as well as making compelling reading in its own rightBooktrust – ‘Books we like’

Paul Dowswell knows his stuff… War is not glorious deeds of derring-do; it’s a grim struggle for survival. Eleven Eleven will appeal to boys of 12 plus who want to know what life on the Western Front was really like. Recommended. Historical Novels Society

From the Blogs

This is a brilliant historical fiction novel, that I found breathtaking. Although fiction, the tale is based on a real event, a real war, where many thousands died and it educates in a compelling way. Highly recommended. Book a Poet

Dowswell always writes convincingly of conflict, whether it be the Napoleonic Wars, the Cold war of the two World Wars, each of his books is absorbing and informative as he takes young teens and places them in an event which showcases the futility of war. Readplus

November 9, 2012

Guardian website

Really pleased to see a piece I’ve written on my favourite non-fiction books about the First World War appear in today’s Guardian.

Also pleased to see other articles and Q and A’s at Book a Poet and the Writers and Artists site.

October 15, 2012
11/11 News

Bloomsbury now have a piece on their website ‘Why I wrote Eleven Eleven’.

Also, thank you to Jane Sandell for her review in Saturday’s Scotsman:

The excitement in Paul Dowswell’s new book is of the terrifying kind… With every turn of the page mature readers will hold their breath, expecting the worst and hoping for the best. Paul Dowswell deals with war head on, leaving his readers in no doubt of its complexities and horrors.

October 11, 2012

Eleven Eleven is OUT!

My new novel is now available. Set over 11 hours on the 11th November, 1918, it tells the story of three teenagers on the final day of the Great War. Early reviews:

As ever, Paul Dowswell has written a book chock full of accurate and illuminating historical detail. There isn’t a better researcher or educator in children’s literature… It’s tense and exciting, but sad and shocking. And readers really will see there were no victors in this terrible war. Bookbag

…Eleven Eleven frequently surprises and keeps you hooked until the end. We Love This Book

If you’re on the look out for a nail-biting, page-turning thriller - a junior le Carre - then this is for you.

October 5th – 10th 

Я благодарен Вам за помощь!

Extraordinary six days in Moscow researching my new novel. One of the most fascinating cities in the world. Many thanks to Tatyana, Valeri, Dan and Sofia for their kindness and invaluable help. Wandering around the Kremlin and Red Square – sights so familiar from history books and TV documentaries – was a fantastic experience.



Book Buzz ‘Heroes’ Video

Author sighted on the Booktrust Book Buzz site, blowing own trumpet:

Auslander in Holland

Just been sent the Dutch paperback of ’Auslander’, with the following marvellous review from Amsterdam’s De Telegraaf‘John Boyne’s “The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas” is a bestseller in this genre, but Auslander is better.’ Thank you to Wilma Seijbel and Callenbach for their support.

News on 11/11

Very pleased to hear Feltrinelli in Italy have bought ‘Eleven Eleven’.

Also delighted to see an early review from The Book Bag’s Jill Murphy: Heartbreaking story of the final day of World War I, following boy soldiers from Britain, America and Germany. Beautiful research illuminates a gripping story. Recommended.

August 24-25

Edinburgh Book Festival

Two brilliant days in Edinburgh. Friday for a school event with author Allan Burnett, chaired by Jane Sandell. Allan magnificently eloquent and Jane did a great job steering our discussion and making us feel at home. Saturday for my own event, ‘The Real Big Brother’, talking about life in Nazi and Communist Berlin. Thanks to Jonathan Davidson who chaired the event and everyone who came and packed out the venue.

Having been a visitor to the Festival for over 20 years it’s really exciting to be an actual part of it.  

August 16

The Battle of the Somme

Over to Thiepval and Albert to visit the magnificent Lutyens war memorial for the 70,000 missing of the Somme. Looking over the fields where so many men lost their lives was a heart-breaking experience but I’m pleased we still remember the dead by looking after the cemeteries and memorials so magnificently. Albert, which was destroyed in the battle, has been rebuilt as it was, and the new medieval buildings have something of the look of Disneyland about them.


German reviews of Auslander

One of the highpoints of my writing career was having ‘Auslander’ and ‘Sektion 20’, both set in Berlin, bought by the German publisher Lübbe. ‘Auslander’ is out now, and has had a few reviews. Here are a couple, translated by Google (!) and Anne Foster:

This book has everything a book needs to have. Shocking, stunning, beautiful - these are just some of the adjectives that I could name. Never before has my heart beat faster with a book, and I’ve never read a book (where it was so difficult to) take a break. Neue Zürcher Zeitung

Youth books on World War II are a dime a dozen, (but) Paul Dowswell’s novel stands out from the crowd… (Peter’s) change of heart from a follower to an active opponent of the regime (is depicted with) depth and authenticity… Certainly not cozy bedtime reading, but an impressive, sometimes depressing, realistic novel.

July 29

History girls

Chuffed to have been invited to contribute to the History Girls website and their fascinating series on favourite historical characters. I chose Rudolph II, who takes a central role in my book ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’.

Do have a look at the links on the right hand side of the page for a month’s worth of brilliant articles on ‘favourite characters’. Additionally, there’s something great to read on this site almost every day.

Thanks to Teresa Flavin for her generosity and Mary Hoffman for asking, and for her patience.

July 18

Book Buzz

Down to London to record a video for Booktrust. Really pleased that my Usborne non-fiction book ‘Heroes’ has been picked as one of their ‘Book Buzz’ choices.

June 18, 2012

‘Sektion 20’ wins a prize!

And more than a coconut, too. It’s won the (deep breath) 2012 Historical Association Young Quills Prize for Historical Fiction (Secondary). And congrats to Barbara Mitchelhill too, who won the Primary prize with ‘Run Rabbit Run’. The HA describes Sektion 20 as “an excellent, gripping, atmospheric convincing tale.”  Thank you!


June 12, 2012

Warwick University

Exciting day in Warwick University, talking to students from Barnsley, Swindon and Coventry on the ‘Young Researchers’ programme. Very much looking forward to reading the historical fiction stories they produce as part of their course work.


June 6/7, 2012

Dollar Academy

Two days up in Scotland, visiting Edinburgh, and Dollar Academy, near Stirling, for books talks and workshops. Lovely school, staff and students. Special thanks to  Eilidh McDonald, who looked after me so generously.


May, 2012

‘Eleven Eleven’ due in October

My new book ‘Eleven Eleven’ is due to be published in October 2012. Set over eleven hours, it follows the fates of three young soldiers on the final day of the First World War. So far, rights have been sold to AudioGo for an audio edition, and Callenbach, who published Auslander and Sektion 20, in Holland. Exciting times…


May 27, 2012

Booktrust Bookbuzz

The Booktrust have selected my non-fiction book Heroes for its Bookbuzz programme in schools. This was one of a series of ‘True Stories’ I wrote for Jane Chisholm at Usborne, back in the early 2000s, so it’s great that it’s got a fresh lease of life. Very pleased to be included in a schools programme designed to encourage reading.


May 23/4, 2012

Leeds Book Award

Two days in Leeds for the Book Award. Sektion 20 has been shortlisted. Thank you to Ange Sayers and Debbie Moody for looking after me. Leeds looks really beautiful in the bright sunshine and the Museum and Art Gallery are well worth a visit. Congratulations to Paula Rawsthorne, whose book The Truth About Celia Frost won the 11-14 section, and to Bryony Pearce, whose Angel’s Fury won the 14-16 section.


May 2, 2012

Historical Association Award

Sektion 20 has been shortlisted for the Historical Association ’Young Quills’ Book Award. Hurrah and Huzzah, as we say in Wolverhampton. Competition looks pretty ferocious…


April 25, 2012

’Sektion 20’ for France

Delighted to hear Naive, who published ’Auslander’ in France in 2010, have also bought ’Sektion 20’. Bonjour, mes bons amis!