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Doncaster Features: Famous Doncastrian: Marina Lewycka

Marina Lewycka (born 1946, Kiel) is a British novelist of Ukrainian origin, currently living in Sheffield, England. She grew up in Doncaster.

Lewycka's debut novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian won a number of awards:

  • 2005 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic writing at the Hay literary festival.
  • 2005/6 Waverton Good Read Award.
  • 2005 Saga Award for Wit;
  • long-listed for the 2005 Man Booker Prize
  • short-listed for the 2005 Orange Prize for Fiction.

The novel has been translated into over twenty-nine languages.

Her novel Two Caravans was shortlisted for the 2008 Orwell Prize for political writing, weirdly in the United States and Canada it is published as Strawberry Fields.

In addition to her fiction, Lewycka has written a number of books giving practical advice for carers of elderly people, published by the charity Age Concern.

In about 1949 the family moved into their first home of their own, in Norton, a small mining village North of Doncaster. It was a two-up two-down terraced cottage with a tin bath in front of the fire and a lav in the back alley with little squares of torn-up newspaper stuck on a nail.

Her Dad worked for International Harvester tractors in Doncaster and went to work every morning on his motorbike (a Norton 500). She went to St Catherine's School in Pontefract. One day she stole the class dinner money and sneaked into Pontefract and spent it on Pomfret cakes. It was easy for the teachers to spot the culprit because she came back with black goo all around her mouth. She wasn't expelled - the teachers were very kind, and they were probably a bit sorry for her, because they let her win the school prize - it was a book called Mary Was Five & The Black Rock by Honor C Appleton - the first book of her very own, which she loved to shreds.

In 1954 they moved closer to Doncaster, where she went to Wheatley Hills Primary School, and got bullied by little boys who called her a Gerry because she was born in Germany.

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