East Boldon author’s award-winning debut novel set in Marsden village becomes Amazon bestseller
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The Last Village, by East Boldon-based Audla English is set in Marsden Village, the village built by the Whitburn Coal Company, before it was demolished 60 years ago.
Inspired by the author’s own grandmother, who grew up in the area, The Last Village is a dual timeline story, split between the modern day and the past, as main character Anna learns about her grandmother Lily growing up in 1945.
The book which came out in October 2018 has become a surprising success in the US, winning a Chill with a Book Premier Readers’ Award, as well as being honoured as a finalist in the 2019 American Fiction Awards.
And last week it was officially recognised as a Bestseller on Amazon.
“I’m quite humbled by the fact that people have taken it on board out there, it’s lovely to be recognised given it has such a local setting," said Audla, who writes under a pseudonym.
“I think it appeals to people as it’s very family orientated and there’s a strong theme of women, especially the relationship between the grandmother and granddaughter. It has elements of tragedy as well, but it has a happy ending.”
An accountant by day, Audla who was born in Sunderland but has lived in South Tyneside all her life, says she has had the idea for about a decade, but only got the confidence to write it after her grandmother passed away four years ago.
“I have always wanted to write and I’ve always been fascinated by Souter Lighthouse and that a whole community lived just in its shadow, then disappeared,” she said.
The book has got people talking closer to home as well, with many locals sharing their own stories of the village.
“I have written it as a dedication to Marsden village, so it’s lovely that it’s got people sharing memories,” she added.
“It’s a little bit of our history.”
The Last Village is available in paperback and kindle from Amazon and at the The Word, South Shields, Hillhead Tearooms and Whitburn and Fulwell libraries.