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Kit de Waal Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

My Name is Leon (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Trick to Time (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Becoming Dinah (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Stories/Novellas

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Without Warning and Only Sometimes (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Supporting Cast (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

The Mechanics' Institute Review: New Stories from Birkbeck: 13(2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Country to Call Home(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Know Your Place(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Birmingham(2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Common People: An Anthology of Working Class Writers(2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Important Nothings(2020)Description / Buy at Amazon

Kit de Waal is a multi-award-winning writer of novels, short stories, and a bestselling autobiography. The author was born to an Irish mother and a Caribbean father in Birmingham and at sixteen, she quit school and proceeded to work a variety of jobs,

She would ultimately finish her schooling work for more than fifteen years in family and criminal law, then became a magistrate and still sits on several adoption panels.
For several years, she was an advisor to social services on a range of adoption issues particularly with regard to legal issues.

Her debut novel “My Name is Leon” was first published in 2016 and became a critically acclaimed work of fiction.

It was the winner of the Irish Novel of the Year Award by the Kerry Group, made the longlist for the Desmond Elliott Price, and the shortlist for the Costa First Novel Award.
De Waal also edited “Common People” an anthology aimed at getting the work of working-class writers into public consciousness. Once she started writing, she went back to school and graduated with a creative writing master’s degree.

de Waal grew up in Birmingham in a very Irish suburb and loved living with the great Irish storytellers in her community.

Her grandmother was originally from Wexford and presented as a vinegar-tongued waspish woman who could take down just about anyone using just her words.
She also had an uncle who could take just one line and spin it into a yarn, a joke, and even an entire evening of entertainment.

As such when she began writing, she did it to imitate her heroes. Kit de Waal intended to take everyday ordinary people and put them into the center of her stories.

She wanted something such as “Dubliners” by James Joyce or something like Lisa McInerney and Kevin Barry do with their lyrical and spot-on descriptions of modern lives in the city.
Kit began reading when she was just 23 at a time when she was employed at a legal firm specializing in criminal defense in Handsworth, Birmingham. She had asked one of the solicitors at her firm to recommend to her a few titles he had read.
While he recommended mostly military-themed titles since he had a military background, she ultimately began to gravitate toward books that reflected her life.
These were books with themes such as domestic drama, characters on the edge of things and out of sorts, and small worlds with big stakes.

Following the success of her debut novel, “My Name is Leon,” Kit de Waal set up a creative writing fellowship.
According to the author, the fellowship was set up to make it possible for disadvantaged writers to get an opportunity for a two-year creative writing scholarship at Birbeck College.
She opted for Birbeck since she had always been good friends with the runner of the program Julia Bell. Given their long relationship over the years, she has come to know how committed Julie can be to bringing the best out of her students.
Moreover, she needed someone from her background to get the chance to attend University so that they could follow their dreams of becoming a fiction author.

Since many authors she tried to encourage to take a master’s in creative writing often told her that they were too expensive hence the “fat chance” of them doing it, she initially contemplated calling it the Fat Chance Scholarship.
For the most part, the scholarship is a way of extending a hand and giving back to people who came after her that usually do not get too many breaks.

Kit de Waal’s “My Name is Leon,” tells the story of a boy named Leoon who loves his golden-haired and beautiful younger brother, Saturday morning cartoons, and chocolate bars.
When his kid brother was born, he poked his head in the crib and proudly declared “My Name is Leon and I am your big brother.”

He loves his brother Jake and is determined to keep him safe from any pain and make him laugh any chance he can get. However, Leon is a kid and as such, is not in control of his life and when her mother succumbs to her inner demons Jake is taken away.
Leon vows to get back his younger brother using any means necessary. His quest to get back his brother will take him on a journey where he will meet some very interesting people.
In his quest, he meets Maureen, an ailing and doting foster mother and Sylvia who is Maureen’s hilarious and cranky sister.

There is also the man nicknamed The Zebra a social worker and a colorful community of West Indian political activists and local gardeners.

Told through the perspective of the young Leon, it is an inspiring story about the unbreakable bond between brothers, the power of love, and what ultimately makes a family.

“The Trick to Time” by Kit de Waal is the story of Mona, a girl who dresses dolls once they are made by the old carpenter. She runs a struggling shop but it is making just enough to meet her needs.
What she does well is to create some very special and unique dolls as she usually gets her materials where no one else can go. Ultimately, she crafts outfits and styles to suit the personality of each doll.
She had grown up in Ireland and left to go find her fortune in England where she had fallen in love. In the present, each doll she makes is a flashback to events in her past.

The dolls take her to the thrill of being a young Irish girl who just came to the big city. She had found a new job and found a room in a busy boarding house where she began her new life.
On the first night in town, she met a gentle Irish man named William with an open face and an easy smile.

The couple would then have a whirlwind romance and marriage but then things started unraveling with an unexpected pregnancy and a tragedy that tore the lovers apart.
She experiences many lows and highs in her life making for a more mature coming-of-age book.

Kit de Waal’s novel “Becoming Dinah” is a work in which the author writes something of a response to “Moby Dick,” the classic work.

In her iteration, she tears the power away from Captain Ahab and hands it to a teen girl. Dinah is a seventeen-year-old whose world is turned upside down as there are dead people all over the place and cuts all over her head.
She is forced to leave the weird commune which she has called home for years to go find a new identity for herself. She begins by changing her look as she shaves off her harrier and hitches a ride south all alone.
But then she lets herself be persuaded to drive a campervan for endless miles alongside a grumpy man who had his leg amputated.

It had never been the plan but while she drives all those miles, she reflects on the events that led her to where she is. Ultimately, it is a defiantly original and fresh work.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Kit de Waal

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