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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Profound Encounters along Holyrood Lane

The last month or more has been a flurry of Facebook posts, well intended emails and quite a bit of self-trumpeting all with the soul purpose of making Flick's introduction into the world of children's stories as smooth, memorable and meaningful as possible. Who is Flick you ask? She is the little girl who 'lives beneath the beech woods at the end of Holyrood Lane', and the life and soul of my latest picture book with Nicky Johnston, At The End of Holyrood Lane - in case you live a fabulously social media free life and missed everything.

Photo courtesy of Sandy Pages Noosa Bookshop
In the publishing world, one has very limited time to spin hay into gold, so whilst the sun shone, Flick and I took our story to the road. Signing books for adoring book lovers (granted some had no choice but to come in out of the filthy weather - thank you Mother Nature) made me realise though, that no number of endorsements or promises to instill hope could match real life stories. The conversations I had with people who sought out my book, who had abuse stories of their own or who knew people and (deep breath) children enduring family violence were in equal parts illuminating, crushing, exquisitely personal and beautifully sincere.

This week I hand delivered two more copies of At The End of Holyrood Lane to a nearby neighbour, someone I did not know well but someone who touched my soul in a profound way simply because she was willing to bare hers. We sat and chatted for a while. We shared coffee and a mutual understanding that quickly cemented into deep respect. We wept a little and we parted better for the encounter.

This woman is clever, hard working, a mother three times over, kind and generous. She is beautiful and inspiring and strong. She is like any one of us. She is a survivor. This is some of what she had to say:

'I had issues with domestic violence...I'm so impressed with what you are doing and I really want to do something, too.

People think only stupid girls or druggies or people from bad families get themselves in these situations and that's not the case, not for me.

There is so much power in a book...

I LOVE this book and all the careful thought put into the words and illustrations...the antique rug (you're not allowed to touch or play on), the precious mahogany dresser, the roses nearly every abusive man buys after the storm.

Emotions leap out of the pages in a way only someone with intense empathy or understanding  could portray. 

Keep making more books like this.

I was going to do something to help women in a similar situation (to mine) and you've reminded me of that. Thank you.'*

No, thank you. I respect each and every review I get as an author, but no words move me more than those from someone who has been touched by my words. Someone who not only recognises the intent and heart I (and the illustrator) work so determinedly to imbue in each story but also, blessedly, understands and appreciates them in ways I can barely comprehend. This is why I write.

Knowing she will share this story with her children makes Flick and I happy.


If you are keen to do something for those suffering domestic violence or in need of support, please visit my site which lists a number of organisations who can help.

For comprehensive downloadable Teacher's Notes visit my site or click, here.

If you'd like to chat more about my book, please do not hesitate to get in touch. It could be a profound moment for us both.

* reproduced with permission

At the End of Holyrood Lane - a poignant yet uplifting picture book that deals with domestic violence in a way that provides understanding and offers hope to young children.

Published by EK Books
Written by Dimity Powell
Illustrated by Nicky Johnston 

Available in all great bookshops, online and via Nicky or Dimity

2 comments:

Norah Colvin said...

What a beautiful, heartfelt endorsement for your book, Dimity. Coming from someone who has been there, her words are very powerful.
Yes, please do write more books about the harsh realities many must face. Not only might they see themselves, but they may also find hope, and a path to freedom, in the words and illustrations.

DimbutNice said...

Thank you Norah. It was a watershed kind of moment for me. There seem to be a few of them of late. I guess that's the beauty and power of picture books; their ability to draw forces together in significant ways.