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Vanessa Curtis originally trained as a pianist before becoming a freelance journalist and contributing articles to a range of magazines and newspapers. She is the author of two biographies on Virginia Woolf, Virginia Woolf's Women and The Hidden Houses of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell as well as a reviewer of fiction and non-fiction for broadsheet newspapers. She is the co-editor of the Virginia Woolf Bulletin, a literary magazine, and also works as a freelance literary consultant. She lives and works near Chichester Harbour.
February 2015 Book of the Month Of the many stories of the Holocaust, that of the Jews of Riga in Latvia is among the less well known. This book tells their story for young people, clearly and honestly, emphasising its importance and relevance to us all. Discovering that her great-grandmother had come from Riga in the early 1900s inspired Vanessa Curtis to find out what happened to those relatives who stayed: Jewish, their fate was the worst imaginable. She describes those terrible times through the eyes of 15 year old Hanna, a normal, lively teenager, with a handsome boyfriend. Readers will find it easy to identify with Hanna, which makes her account of what happens to her even more affecting. The story ends on a note of hope for Hanna, and is a powerful tribute to all the Latvian victims of the Nazis. ~ Andrea Reece The Earth is Singing is Vanessa’s first historical novel, which she was inspired to write when she discovered her own Jewish Latvian heritage. Vanessa says: 'The story of the Jews of Riga is not widely known. After finding out that my great-grandmother was born there, but came over to England at the turn of the twentieth century, I began to wonder what happened to the Jewish friends and relatives that she had left behind. I visited the Riga Ghetto Museum and saw photographs of many of the thousands of Jews who perished at the hands of the Nazis in 1941. Their eyes seemed to be telling me to relate their story, so that is what I did. I am delighted that Usborne have given me the opportunity to bring this story to a wider audience.'
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - September 2014 Book of the Month Can Amelie win the Britain’s Best Teen Baker of the Year competition? She’s got through to the quarter-finals and must now go to London in compete in the competition. Amelie has no fears about the quality of her baking; she loves to bake and knows that her cakes are extra-specially good. But Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis. Will she able to manage the pressure of the competition? Fuelled by ‘flour-power’ Amelie is determined to show the world what she can do. Ever her anxious mother will not be able to stop her. But when Amelie hears some dreadful news it looks as if all her hopes will be dashed. Amelie’s courage is inspirational. A Piece of Passion from Loraine Taylor, Publisher “We are delighted to welcome award-wining author Vanessa Curtis onto the Curious Fox list. A determined heroine, cakes, family and friendships, what better ingredients for an uplifting story for 9-12 girls. Amelie is a wonderful character – strong, passionate, determined – and this is a book about the struggles she faces in every day life to pursue her dreams of becoming a baker. The quality of the writing and the lightness of touch really stand out. It’s a book we’re very proud to be publishing.”
From the very first moment she sees it, Tabitha knows there is something unusual about her new home. Used to moving house and school, Tabitha is quite willing to start a new life but, from the beginning, she is mystified by some of what she sees hears and smells. There's turmoil in Tabitha’s own life; now there seems to be confusion in the life of the home she lives in. Are the two related? Full of the unexpected, this is a classic ghost story with just the right amount of spookiness.
Life is complicated for Lilah. Her family falls apart when her brother Jay disappears. Managing her anger is only possible because of her great friendship with Bindi. Now Jay suddenly returns. All should be well – but it isn’t. Lilah has to keep her famous anger firmly under control as the family regroups. And she has to re-build her friendship with Bindi. Vanessa Curtis has a sharp ear for teenage dialogue and a warm understanding of the confusions of adolescence. This funny and moving story is the follow up to The Taming of Lilah May.
This cleverly written novel is told with sensitivity and humour and introduces a new anti-heroine in Lilah May. Clever and sassy Lilah is finding is hard to keep her anger under control but it's only been like this since her brother disappeared two years ago and she blames herself but her parents don't realise this. By the award-winning author of Zelah Green, Queen of Clean this witty, warm and moving story will have a sequel Lilah May's Manic Days in January 2012. You can also visit author Vanessa Curtis' website by clicking here.
Shortlisted for the Young Minds Book Award 2010 Told in an upbeat, teenage first person narrative, this is a moving and insightful story about coping with a compulsive disorder. Zelah Green describes herself as a Cleanaholic. She spends her life on ‘Germ Alert’ because she’s unable not to worry about the smallest speck of dirt. Mostly it’s manageable; sometimes it is not. Zelah’s stepmother finds it hard and sends Zelah off to a home for ‘crazy people’ in the hope that Zelah can fix herself up. What Zelah finds and how ‘craziness’ really is, is kindly and touchingly observed.