About the Book
Posh children's opera group is held hostage by South American guerrillas in West London. In 2001 it won the Phoenix Award which is given by the Children’s Literature Association to a book that didn’t win any major awards when it was first published twenty years earlier.
This was based upon our local children's opera, in the bit of London where I used to live, just west of the location of Notting Hill, for anyone who's seen the film, and much like that. They roped me in to direct the operas for a couple of years, but I was hopeless at it so they demoted me to stage manager. I had a terrific time. It was immensely hard work. I used to lose several pounds each time, and I don't have a lot to spare. Major hijackings were just beginning, and it struck me what a worthwhile target a churchload of kids — a lot of them with influential parents — might make. Despite that I wanted my story light-hearted, and full of the excitement and gusto of our operas. I was totally thrilled when twenty years later my story won the Phoenix Award, which is given each year to a book which didn't win any major prizes when it first came out, but the committee thinks is still worth something.
Phoenix Award - 2001
“This steady, sober hostage story is not quite a thriller . . . but anyone . . . can be engaged by the argument and enveloped in Dickinson’s carefully textured citadel.”
Gollancz, UK - 1981
Dutton, US - 1981
Big Mouth House, US - 2013
Dell, US - 1991