Kate Thompson

1956- ; b. Halifax, Yorkshire; dg. E. P. Thompson, the Marxist historian, party-member to 1956, and founding member of CND with his wife Dorothy; moved with family to Leamington Spa, 1964, and to Worcester, 1971 [aetat. 15]; worked initially with racehorses in England and USA; travelled to India, where she did voluntary work at the Maharashtra orphanage on her second visit; stayed at Santiniketan College, assoc. with Tagore (a friend of her father); moved to Ireland between those visits; became an official resident in 1981; settled with her partner Conor Minogue at Inagh, Co. Clare, 1984, with whom two dgs., Cliodhna and Dearbhlal ran small holding here;

joined N. Clare Writers’ Workshop, meeting weekly at Ennistymon Library, with Knute Skinner and others; issued There Is Something (1992), under Knute’s Signpost Press imprint; separated from her partner and moved to Kinvara, Co. Galway, 1994, divorcing afterwards; issued Switchers (1994), a first novel, with Aran Press, later to be reprinted by Random House Children’s Books (1997) after Aran failed; issued Thin Air (1999), about a west of Ireland family shattered by their daughter’s disappearance;

issued An Act of Worship (2000), involving romance and beef-scandals in Ireland; winner of Guardian and Whitebread Children’s Book Awards with The New Policeman (2005); issued The Fourth Horseman (2006), a novel about the war on terror and a scheme to save the red squirrel; she is three-times winner of the Bisto Children’s Award in Ireland; plays the Irish fiddle.

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Adult fiction, Thin Air (1999); Down Among the Gods (q.d.); An Act of Worship (London: Lir Sceptre 2000), 266pp.

For children, The Beguilers (London: Bodley Head 2001), 256pp.; The Alchemist’s Apprentice (London: Bodley Head 2002), 196pp.; Switchers (London: Bodley Head 1997), 224pp.; Midnight’s Choice (1998); Wild Blood (London: Bodley Head 1999), 168pp.; The New Policeman (London: Bodley Head 2005); Creature of the Night ([Bodley] 2008).

Also Annan Water; Creature Of The Night; The Fourth Horseman; The Last of the High Kings; and The Missing Link Trilogy (viz., The Missing Link; Only Human; Origins).

Omnibus Edn., The Switchers Trilogy (London: Red Fox 2004), 552pp. [Switchers; Midnight’s Choice; Wild Blood], 553pp.

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Websites: See author’s homepage [dated 2006; accessed 02.08.2009].

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Jarlath Killeen, ‘Evil Innocence: the Child and Adult’, in Irish Children’s Literature and Culture: New Perspective on Contemporary Writing, ed. Valerie Coghlan & Keith O’Sullivan (London: Routledge 2011): ‘[...] For Darren Shan, children and metaphysical otherness appear to have a connection, and this link between a dark mythic world and the child is central to the writing of Kate Thompson. Even in the most grimly realistic of plots, her child characters encounter elements from an alternative order that speak to the condiditon of childhood itself. In Creature of the Night, first published in 2008, the protagonist Bobby is a juvenile delinquent from Dublin, whose mother, in an effort to improve both her own parenting and his behaviour, relocates her family to a cottage in County Clare. Bobby’s misbehaviour is an example of recognizable childhood malevolence: with his other delinquent friends Beetle, Fluke, and Psycho Mick, Bobbyd has a career of joyriding, alcohol comsumption, and drug taking. Comapres with the version of child malevolence Bobby encounters in Clare, however, such behaviour pales into insignificance. / A married couple wtih one daughter had originally occupied the cottage that the family rents:

There was only ever one child reared in the house ... Fifteen years she lived in that house and nobody ever say her. Nor her mother, neither ... poor Peggy wasn’t right in the head ... Right from when the baby was born ... She maintained it wasn’t her baby at all .. She swore it was a changeling. (Creature [... &c.], p.54.)

Peggy may have been right. The child was certainly strange, and although no one ever sae it, peoiple could hear it because “she had this terrible little voice. ... There were words in it, but the sound was too high pitched. Like a cat trying to speak. ... There were times we used to sleep with the pillow over our heads for fear we’d hear her” (Idem.). This is the voice of the monstrous other, the malevolent child. After their daughter disappears, and no body is found, her parents are charged with her murder. The next tenant of the cottage, a Swedish man called Lars, also goes missing [...]’ (p.123; available online at Google Books - online; accessed 24.09.2012.)

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The New Policeman (2005): Thompson subjects Kinvara, the small Irish town where she lives, to the fate of the rest of the western world - there’s no time for anything. It turns out that time is leaking away into the world of the fairies - putting the people of Tir na nOg in crisis since the continual leakage is threatening their existence. / Enter JJ, Thompson’s fifteen-year-old male protagonist. (See Dina Rabinovitch, ‘Author of the Month: Kate Thompson’ [interview-article], in The Guardian, 24 Jan. 2006 [online; accessed 02.08.2009].

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