Guest Post: The Origami Nun by Lori Olding (plus Giveaway)

Lori Olding lives and works in Surrey in the UK. She and her friend Ruth share responsibility for an origami nun and are very glad the nun has managed to feature in her special story at last. Lori is fond of blueberry muffins and lemon meringue pie.

Guest Post: How the Origami Nun was Made

The Origami Nun came about in two ways. My colleague, Ruth, used to be the Chaplaincy Administrator at the University where I work. One day she came into her office and found someone had placed a tiny nun made out of paper on her desk. She had no idea what it was doing there or who it belonged to. She asked around some of the religious societies but nobody knew anything about it, so she brought it back to the desk that she sometimes shared with me.
I think I fell in love with the origami nun at once – she was just so small and perfectly made, and she definitely had a lovely peaceful aura about her. It didn’t take long before she became our office mascot, and we even used to talk to her from time to time. I’m sure she talked back.
One day, Ruth and I were chatting, and the nun came up in conversation. Ruth laughingly said I should write a story about her. I don’t think she really meant it but I thought it was a great idea so I did! Because my colleague Ruth had given me the idea and is such a lovely person anyway, I named my main character, seven-year-old Ruth, after her as well. Real Ruth was very pleased, and loves the story too!
The main theme of my story is bullying and how to survive it, though it’s a light-hearted and magical read as well – that’s where the origami nun comes in. Her magic can do anything! I have first-hand experience of these difficulties as I myself was bullied at primary school (school for ages 5 to 11 in the UK), and all the things that happened to my fictional heroine Ruth also happened to me. So writing down the story felt very much like achieving a kind of personal closure in a way that doesn’t often happen in real life. Maybe I should have had the origami nun back then! Here’s an extract from the book, when Ruth and the rest of the children are in the playground:
Lorraine pushed her. It was going to be a bad day then. Ruth froze. This time she  had nowhere to run as Lorraine’s friends blocked any chance of getting away. Her throat felt dry. She wished Great-Aunt Alice was here. She would know what to do, she would protect her.

But  she  wasn’t  here,  and  Lorraine  and  her  friends continued to push and prod at her, as she made herself as small and unnoticeable as possible. Ruth tried to make- believe  she  wasn’t  here  at  all,  but  somewhere  else  far  away   from school and play-time.

After a few minutes, though it seemed like hours, Lorraine stepped back and reached sideways to grab something  Ruth  couldn’t  see.  The  next  moment something dark and hot cut out the light and she punched at it, fingers scrabbling at whatever it was that Lorraine had thrown over her. It felt scratchy, like wool, and it smelt musty. The more Ruth tried to escape, the more trapped she became, and the less she could breathe. She hated this darkness and she had to get away.

In her pocket, the origami nun twisted and caused a pinprick of warmth to flow through her leg. She grabbed the nun and beat at the darkness surrounding her with it. As if she’d  opened a secret door to a magic world, the darkness disappeared and she blinked in the light again. Next to her lay the blanket they used for the school rabbit hutch. It must have been that which Lorraine had thrown over her. Across the playground she could see a tall figure marching across and  she  could  hear  Mrs. Easting’s  voice,  raised  in  anger  but   not at her.

None of this mattered. With the nun in her hand giving her  courage  she’d  never had before,  Ruth  pushed  Lorraine  to   the ground so she landed with a thump and a yell. Then she kicked her.

I hate you, she mouthed so that Lorraine could see.

After that, still clutching the nun, Ruth raced past her form teacher, whose eyebrows she saw were raised in a half- moon shape and her lips opened in an O, then she was through the school gates and out onto the pavement.

She was going home.

That’s not the end of the story of course and there’s much more adventure and revelation to come, for bothgirls. However, my main concern in writing the book was to show that being bullied isn’t the end and never ever has to be. There are ways out and people around us who can help, and nobody has to suffer alone. So I’d definitely encourage anyone experiencing these kind of issues to speak out about it, as bullying is never acceptable and needs to be stopped. If you’d like to know more, there’s a link to an anti-bullying campaign on the Lori Olding site which is very useful, both for adults and children: And if reading The Origami Nun helps someone out there to stop bullying or to get help with being bullied, then I and indeed the nun herself will be very, very happy.
Many thanks for reading.

The Origami Nun

Seven-year old Ruth can’t speak, but that doesn’t mean she can’t think. She knows her birthday is going to be good as her beloved great-aunt has exciting plans for her. What she doesn’t expect is a magical paper nun, an encounter with a bully who may not be what she seems or a school day to remember. Because, before her special day is over, Ruth is in for some very big surprises.

Tour Giveaway:
Leave a meaningful comment on this post to be entered to win a copy of The Origami Nun.  Be sure there is a way to contact you if you win. Ends 9/30/12