Gail Aldwin Feature – The String Games and Pandemonium

When four-year-old Josh goes missing during a family holiday in France his sister Nim, aged ten, finds it difficult to cope. She carries feelings of responsibility for his loss and grows into a vulnerable teenager.

In order to move forward with her life, Nim reinvents herself as Imogen. As an adult she returns to France determined to find out what really happened to Josh. How will she deal with this new information and what are the implications for her future?Gail Aldwin’s The String Games takes hold of the reader and the juncture of the head and the heart and simply does not let go.

With courage and tenderness, and an unblinking eye, Gail Aldwin explores the ways in which the loss of a child explodes a family. Treat yourself and read this one.JACQUELYN MITCHARD, bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN

The String Games: Amazon.co.uk: Aldwin, Gail, Zechmeister, Fiona:  9781999619510: Books

Writing is collaboration

When I set out in 2009 to become a novelist, I never imagined I would also have a children’s picture book published. Writing for children was the last thing on my mind! But as my journey to become a published author progressed, I found that writing in different genres such as poetry and short fiction was good creative writing exercise and helped build stamina for longer projects including the completion of my debut novel The String Games.

Dr Gail Aldwin on Twitter: "So pleased to have these lovely endorsements  for #PanDeMoNium from @Wendy_J_White Tir na n-Og Award Winner and Liz  Poulain, #Dorset publisher @Fuzzypig_books… https://t.co/TQQvA8xaRw"

This coming-of-age story was a finalist in the People’s Book Prize and shortlisted in the DLF writing prize 2020. As it is published with Victorina Press, a small independent publisher, I was involved in many of the processes. Fiona Zechmeister was appointed to design the cover and she included some of my ideas in the final cover image for The String Games.

The String Games Gallery – Victorina Press

We didn’t realise at the time, but this was the start of a collaboration which would lead to the publication of Pandemonium a full colour picture book for 2­–7 year olds. Picture books are dependent on the interaction of words and pictures therefore input from the writer and illustrator are equally important.

The String Games, book launch | the writer is a lonely hunter

The best children’s picture books allow the words to tell one story while the illustrations offer a parallel more nuanced version. In Pandemonium Fiona and I have mastered this collaborative approach. We’re delighted Pandemonium has received favourable reviews from early readers and we look forward to seeing this book with its message about the importance of being yourself, launched into the world on 1 December 2020.

About Pandemonium

All Peta ever wants to do is have fun. Nobody notices she’s up to mischief until an assistant in the department store spots her. Does this put an end to Peta’s adventures? Of course not!

About The String Games

When four-year-old Josh goes missing during a family holiday in France his sister Nim, aged ten, finds it difficult to cope. She carries feelings of responsibility for his loss and grows into a vulnerable teenager. In order to move forward with her life, Nim reinvents herself as Imogen. As an adult she returns to France determined to find out what really happened to Josh. How will she deal with this new information and what are the implications for her future?

About Gail Aldwin

Gail Aldwin (Author of The String Games)

Gail Aldwin is a novelist, poet and scriptwriter who regularly appears at literary and fringe festivals. Prior to Covid-19, Gail volunteered at Bidibidi in Uganda, the second largest refugee settlement in the world.  Find Gail on Twitter @gailaldwin 

About Fiona Zechmeister

Fiona holds a degree in Visual Communication and a Masters in Publishing from the University of Derby. She works as an illustrator creating book covers and children’s books. Pandemonium is the third children’s picture book Fiona has illustrated. The others are I am Adila from Gaza and Songo. Find Fiona on her website https://www.fionazeich.net

Dr Gail Aldwin (@gailaldwin) | טוויטר

Purchase link for The String Games https://www.victorinapress.com/product/the-string-games/

Purchase link for Pandemonium https://www.victorinapress.com/product/pan-de-mo-nium/

Praise for The String Games

Gail Aldwin’s The String Games takes hold of the reader and the juncture of the head and the heart and simply does not let go. With courage and tenderness, and an unblinking eye, Gail Aldwin explores the ways in which the loss of a child explodes a family. Treat yourself and read this one.JACQUELYN MITCHARD, bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN 

Gail Aldwin excels at creating characters you care about.NINA KILLHAM, author of BELIEVE ME  

An intimate portrayal of family, love and loss, and one that gives a glimpse into how crisis might shape each of us.ELIZABETH REEDER, author of RAMSHACKLE

An insightful, engaging novel, The String Games breaks the reader’s heart and leaves them turning the pages ever more quickly to get to the truth of what really happened.SARA GETHIN, author of NOT THOMAS

Praise for Pandemonium

This is an absolutely beautiful picture book – and I love the important message it conveys that you shouldn’t change yourself to try to fit in!  – Tilly, UK


Young children will see themselves in the playful hero; wonderful illustrations, in a riot of colour, will draw them in. Certain to become a favourite on the bookshelf. – Pete, Sweden


Most excelling for the early years. – Sue, UK

Cute story about a silly panda with great illustrations! My two year old loved it! – Amy, USA

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