We’re delighted to announce that this May we’ll be publishing another heartfelt and powerful war novel from master storyteller Tom Palmer. Inspired by the true stories of the Windermere Children, After the War: From Auschwitz to Ambleside, is an incredibly moving story of friendship, hope and belonging, publishing to mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War and the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps.
Read on for our full press release and more information about the book. We can’t wait for you to read this one!
Summer 1945. The Second World War is finally over and Yossi, Leo and Mordecai are among three hundred children who arrive in the English Lake District. Having survived the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps, they’ve finally reached a place of safety and peace, where they can hopefully begin to recover. But Yossi is haunted by thoughts of his missing father and disturbed by terrible nightmares. As he waits desperately for news from home, he fears that Mordecai and Leo – the closest thing to family he has left – will move on without him. Will life by the beautiful shores of Lake Windermere be enough to bring hope back into all their lives?
Editorial Director Ailsa Bathgate says of the acquisition:
“How do people find the strength to endure the unendurable? How can they rebuild their lives after witnessing the very worst of what human beings can do to one another? How can love and friendship survive the horrific brutality of war and genocide? After the War tackles these huge questions by following the journey of three boys rescued from Nazi concentration camps at the end of the Second World War. After they are taken to Lake Windermere to recover, we see them struggle to come to terms with the loss of everyone they’ve ever known and to put the horrors of the camps behind them. This powerful story of a friendship forged in the worst of circumstances is ultimately a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and a moving act of remembrance.”
Rooted in the real-life story of the refugees known as the Windermere Children, After the War was researched and written with the support of the Lake District Holocaust Project. This organisation was established in 2013 after years of intense research activity, Holocaust education work, oral history interviews, travels to Poland, Germany, the Czech Republic, Holland, France and throughout the UK, and acts as a living commemoration of the remarkable connection between The Holocaust and the Lake District.
The BBC are commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a film called The Windermere Children, the first dramatisation of this remarkable true story set in the Lake District in the aftermath of the Holocaust, based on the powerful first-person testimony of survivors who began their new lives in the UK. The film airs on BBC Two at 9 p.m. on 27th January 2020.
“I wrote After the War because my wife had heard a radio programme about 300 Jewish orphan children who survived the Holocaust and came to stay at Windermere, direct from the concentration camps. She knew I’d be interested because I love the Lake District, having spent most of my childhood holidays there. I quickly became fascinated with what it would be like for children who had endured the worst experiences any children have had to suffer to come to such a lovely place. In the interviews they talk about it as going from hell to heaven. But how could they enjoy the heaven of the lakes and mountains, nature and activities after the hell of what they had been through? I also heard what those children – now very old men and women – said about why they tell their story. So that we don’t forget. So that it doesn’t happen again. And how they are concerned that, once they are dead, the story may disappear. That made me want to write After the War.”
After the War is Tom Palmer’s 50th published book and follows the successful publication of Armistice Runner and D-Day Dog, which have sold a combined 40,000 copies since release in September 2018 and May 2019 respectively. The new novel comes on the heels of a remarkable past year for Tom which saw numerous award wins and nominations, record sales and recognition of his continued passionate literacy work with the presentation of the National Literacy Trust’s Ruth Rendell Award.
Tom Palmer will donate royalties from After the War to the Lake District Holocaust Project as well as undertaking a 50-mile journey in August 2020 by bicycle, canoe and fell-run to raise money for the Project. The charity tour will follow the same route the Windermere Children took upon arriving in England after their liberation from the camps, landing in Crosby-on-Eden and arriving at their new home in Troutbeck Bridge near Windermere in August 1945.
After the War: From Auschwitz to Ambleside will publish on 7 May 2020 in Barrington Stoke’s middle-grade Conkers series.
For more information on After the War: From Auschwitz to Ambleside, Tom’s research and his writing process visit: tompalmer.co.uk/after-the-war/