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A Review of the 2022 Sir Walter Raleigh Award Winner

Saturday Review in 2022: Susan O’Dell Underwood’s review of Valerie Nieman’s latest novel In the Lonely Backwater in NCLR Online Fall 2022.

Congratulations to writer Valerie Nieman on winning the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association and the Historical Book Club of North Carolina.

We published Susan O’Dell Underwood’s review of the winning book, In the Lonely Backwater, as part of our fall issue online. “If you’ve read only one of Valerie Nieman’s many innovative books, then prepare to be surprised all over again when you read her most recent novel. …Nieman has published in multiple genres, including poetry, dystopian fiction, short fiction, and historical literary fic-tion…. Now with In the Lonely Backwater, set roughly in the Lake Kerr area of North Carolina, Nieman has written an incredibly original Young Adult novel.”

Writing interesting, believable teenagers is never an easy task (raising them is no joke, either), so it is commendable Nieman has crafted a character worth reading. “Readers will find this ever-evolving self-portrait fascinating as Maggie lives through life-threatening dangers, and they will sympathize with a narrator who can barely fancy what it would mean to be a normal teenager.”

Read the review, then head to your local bookstore or library to pick up a copy!