Memories inspire debut novel for leading children's literature expert Victor Watson

PUBLISHED: 15:33 11 September 2009 | UPDATED: 21:54 31 May 2010

AN eminent children s literary academic from Saffron Walden has published his first children s novel. Victor Watson s Paradise Barn is a mystery adventure about two friends growing up in the Fens during the Second World War, and is based on Watson s own m

AN eminent children's literary academic from Saffron Walden has published his first children's novel.

Victor Watson's Paradise Barn is a mystery adventure about two friends growing up in the Fens during the Second World War, and is based on Watson's own memories of his childhood.

The book is set in the fictional village of Little Deeping and is a terrific murder mystery made richer by the wartime background - absent fathers, the arrival of strangers including evacuees and prisoners of war, preoccupation with food and rationing, the terrors of air raids - all vividly remembered by the author.

Watson is currently senior lecturer at Homerton College, Cambridge and is acknowledged as one of the leading experts on children's literature.

He is the editor of the Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English and a number of influential books on writing for children.

"After so many years teaching and writing about children's books, I thought I should try writing one myself, and drew on my own memories of childhood," he said.

Paradise Barn , published by Catnip (paperback £6.99, 978-1-84647-091-2) was released at a launch party at a Cambridge bookshop earlier this week.

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