2014 EVENTS:
Holly Bourne, Non Pratt and James Dawson - 30th October
Becca Fitzpatrick - 15th November

Friday, 8 August 2014

ABOUT THE BOOK: A Dream of Lights - Kerry Drewery

Friday, 8 August 2014
We've been lucky enough to be talking to Kerry Drewery, author of A Brighter Fear and A Dream of Lights. Here's a bit about her, and about her writing!

Yoora is a teenage girl living in North Korea, dreaming of the lights of foreign cities while eking out a miserable existence in a rural northern village. But then she makes a mistake: she falls in love. With someone far removed from her social class. Someone dangerous to know. When tongues start to wag, her father is executed and she is taken to a prison camp in the mountains. There, escape seems even further from her grasp. But Yoora is about to learn an important lesson: love can surprise you, and it can come in many forms...

Kerry is the author of YA novels A Brighter Fear (shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards) and A Dream of Lights (awarded Highly Commended at North East Teen Book Awards, nominated for the Carnegie Medal, shortlisted for the Hampshire Independent Schools Book Awards and longlisted for the Leeds Book Awards). 

When not writing, she does ridiculous things like the Tough Mudder, runs across bridges and swims in lakes and sensible things like eating cake and chocolate. 

She loves spiders but has a fear of moths. 

You can find out more/follow her here – 

Twitter - @KerryDrewery 

Facebook – facebcook/KerryDrewery 

Tumblr – 

Many people have asked why I chose to set a novel in North Korea. 

I’ve always been interested in other countries, in the people and the cultures; as a teen I had this mad dream of visiting every country in the world. I think if I’d lived in another time and I was a lot braver, I would’ve liked to have been an explorer! 

Some countries stick out more than others for me though. Russia has always fascinated me, Egypt too, but especially North Korea - the closed society, the secrets, the controlling leaders, the restraints on media, the borders its people aren’t allowed to cross. A country that, in this day and age with all the technology available to us, the world knows so little about. 

I suppose it’s a bit like having a quiet student at the back of a class who looks different, talks differently, has no friends and an unknown family – I want to find out what makes them tick and why they behaves as they do and it’s the same with North Korea. Why do the people live like that? Are they happy? Do they want things to change? Why do some choose to escape, yet others don’t? Is it my natural curiosity or am I just downright nosy? A bit of both I think!

A daily ration of food in North Korea
I started researching, reading about the country and its history, watching documentaries, finding accounts from people who lived there, and the story and my character Yoora began to take shape. 

When I researched A Brighter Fear (set in Iraq at the time of the 2003 invasion), there was a lot of information out there, and the difficulty was syphoning through so much to find what was relevant, with A Dream of Lights, it was completely different. Visitors need to apply for permission to enter North Korea and if allowed they are escorted constantly by ‘guides’. These ‘guides’ are instructed by their government on what you, the visitor, are allowed to see/visit/photograph and the questions they’re allowed to answer, (mobile phones aren’t allowed) so any information I found out was like gold dust. 

As well as reading all types of things, I did a lot digging around the internet and I found a sneaked-out video clip of a northern town where tourists aren’t allowed to go, another inside a train, and one terrible one of a government initiated execution in a village. Believe me, the similarities between life in North Korea and in The Hunger Games is astonishing, yet that is fiction! 

Researching North Korea broke my heart at times, yet at other times there were tears of astonishment and joy at the strength and determination of some of its people. From the whole experience of researching, drawing it all together, forming the characters of Yoora, her family, her beloved Grandfather and the boy, Sook who she dares to trust, developing the story (all of which has its basis in fact), has taught me one special thing that still stays with me today – with hope, people are capable of far more than they often think possible. 

I remember that as I stare at a blank page and think of the next novel!! 

- Kerry Drewery.


A Dream of Lights and A Brighter Fear are both available in store now.

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