A MOTHER-of-four has won a national prize for children’s fiction with her first novel.

Griselda Heppel, 56, of Banbury Road, Oxford, came top of the children’s category of the People’s Book Prize.

Her novel, Ante’s Inferno, is a children’s adaptation of Dante Alighieri’s 14th century poem about a journey through hell.

Mrs Heppel said: “I’m just over the moon. I was really excited to be nominated but I never expected to win.”

In the book, 12-year-old schoolgirl Ante goes on a journey through hell with her companion Gil, a 13-year-old boy who died 100 years ago.

The novel was partly inspired by a story of a 10-year-old boy called Ned Morphew who died at the Dragon School in Oxford in 1912 when he fell from a balcony in the main hall.

The People’s Book Prize is entirely voted for by the public, and this year thousands of readers nominated their favourites.

The story is aimed at ages eight and above but Mrs Heppel added: “It is the kind of book you can read at any age.”

The book, published by Matador, costs £5.24 and is available from Mostly Books in Abingdon and online from Amazon.com