Welcome to Nowhere

Welcome to Nowhere

Elizabeth Laird,

Welcome to Nowhere

Macmillan, 2017

ISBN 9781509840472

11-14 Shortlist 2018


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Who Wrote It?

Born in New Zealand in 1943 to parents of Scottish heritage, Elizabeth Laird moved to South London in 1945. She studied French and German at Bristol University before deciding to travel the world. From teaching in Malaysia and Ethiopia, to living in Iraq and being evacuated from Beirut during the civil war, Elizabeth lived a life full of adventure before deciding to become a writer. Her books are deeply influenced by her travels and experiences of other cultures; she was inspired to write Welcome to Nowhere after spending a couple of weeks in refugee camps near the Syrian border. She tells herself that she’s now too old for big adventures, but knows that if she gets some mad inspiration she’ll be off again as soon as she can pack a bag! 

What's It About?

In the winter of 2015, Elizabeth Laird travelled to Jordan to volunteer in two refugee camps. Elizabeth couldn’t help but be moved by the plight and the stories of the people she met, and Welcome to Nowhere is a result of her experiences there.

Twelve-year-old Omar and his brothers and sisters were born and raised in the beautiful and bustling city of Bosra, Syria. Omar doesn't care about politics - all he wants is to grow up to become a successful businessman who will take the world by storm. But when his clever older brother, Musa, gets mixed up with some young political activists, everything changes...

Before long, bombs are falling, people are dying, and Omar and his family have no choice but to flee their home with only what they can carry. Yet no matter how far they run, the shadow of war follows them - until they have no other choice than to attempt the dangerous journey to escape their homeland altogether. Where do you go when you can't go home?

Fact File

While living and working in Ethiopia, Elizabeth was a disc jockey on a late night music show, broadcasting to Africa and India.

She met her husband, David McDowall, on a plane in India where he was extremely kind to her while she was feeling airsick.

She’s won the Carnegie Medal five times and is well known for stories like The Fastest Boy in the World, The Garbage King and Oranges in No Man's Land.

Her books have been translated into 15 languages.

For more information on Elizabeth Laird go to her website: www.elizabethlaird.co.uk

or follow her on Twitter: @EMRLaird

Your Reviews

Deia from roundhay school:

I was really looking forward to reading this book! I had already read a book by Elizabeth Laird (Crusades) and found it great, so I read this and I can honestly say it's one of the best books I have read. It's probably one of the most intense as well! every bit got me into it and I now know what some people go through in Syria. I love how accurate she writes the Arabic (because I know how to speak some) and the way they lived, which actually shows she has put effort into researching the way they live! I love this book so much! Keep up the good work Elizabeth!

Deia gave Welcome to Nowhere 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Girls Can't Hit by T S Easton.

Miss Busby from Corpus Christi Catholic College:

'Welcome to Nowhere' really highlights the suffering due to the civil war in Syria.

This gritty book takes you through a family's journey as they flee their home in Bosra forced to become refugees in a camp across the border in Jordan.

It really highlights the harsh reality of life in Syria.

I'm sure my students will find this book very moving and insightful.

Miss Busby gave Welcome to Nowhere 5 out of 5 and now plans to read Girls Can't Hit by T S Easton.