In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world. On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark’s citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it’s up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.
Patricia Forde lives in Galway in the west of Ireland. She has been writing for children for most of her adult life. She started out writing television drama and now writes children’s books in both English and Irish. The List, published in 2017, was her first novel. The second book in that series, The Last Lie, will be available in August 2020. Patricia is married to Padraic and has two almost grown up children and one very demanding dog.
What inspired you to write The List?
I am bi-lingual. I speak English and Irish, but Irish is now considered by many to be a dying language. I became interested in minority languages as a teenager and have researched the topic ever since. I was especially interested in how languages die. From all that thinking about language and words I had an idea for a story where words were limited. How many words do you need to survive?
In memory of my father, Tommy Forde
Forde’s pacing and characterization are compelling…An intriguing speculation about authoritarian futures with a terrific cover.
Forde’s exploration of languages both weapon and savior is a noble one, and environmental undertones bolster its power. Pair with Patrick Ness’s The Knife of Never Letting Go.