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We’d like to add our congratulations to all the others Frances Hardinge has received on winning the Costa Book of the Year Award with The Lie Tree.

Apparently Frances was born and raised in Penshurst Village, ten minutes’ drive from ninevoices’ country. I wonder if she ever found inspiration for her other-wordly stories from the ancient tombstones in the churchyard of Penshurst Church? There is one there, embossed with flaming torches, which tells of two men, father and son, who died from the foul air in a well – one having gone down to try and rescue the other. The stone also commemorates the mother, who died within the year, no doubt of grief.

Apparently Frances started writing seriously after winning a short story competition in a magazine. Let that be an incentive to us all…