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Carnegie hat-trick

carnegie-greenaway-logoI’m delighted to announce that Twenty Questions for Gloria has been nominated for 2017 Carnegie Medal – the third time I’ve been in contention for this most prestigious of awards in the UK for children’s and teenage fiction. The list of titles was revealed today by CILIP, the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, which organises the award – now in its 80th year – and whose membership makes the nominations.

I’m honoured to be rubbing shoulders with some of the leading YA and children’s authors: Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell Boyce, John Boyne, Anne Cassidy, Cressida Cowell, Jenny Downham, Matt Haig, Tanya Landman, Hayley Long, Simon Mayo, Louise O’Neill, Mal Peet, Meg Rosoff, Annabel Pitcher, Chris Priestley, Philip Reeve, Francesca Simon, Rebecca Stead and Nicola Yoon.

GLORIA UK final cover 1It’s especially pleasing to see my Creative Writing PhD student Liz Flanagan among the nominations for her debut YA novel, Eden Summer, which I’ve been supervising at Leeds Trinity University, and Crush, by Eve Ainsworth, with whom I share an agent – Stephanie Thwaites, at Curtis Brown – and with whom I shared a stage at the Hay Festival earlier this year. In fact, all four of the authors from that Hay panel are nominated, as Patrice Lawrence (Orangeboy) and Juno Dawson (All of the Above) are also on the Carnegie list. Great to see that my publishers, Walker Books, have five titles in contention.

The 114 nominated books will be whittled down to a longlist, published in February, then a shortlist, in March, with the winner being announced in June. The longlisted and shortlisted titles for the Carnegie Medal and its sister prize for books aimed at younger readers, the Kate Greenaway, are shadowed by 100,000 students in 5,000 reading groups at participating schools across the country. Previous Carnegie winners include Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Patrick Ness and C.S. Lewis.

To see the full lists of nominations for both awards please click on this link to the Carnegie/Greenaway website.

Let the voting begin!

BA logo 2017The 2017 Coventry Inspiration Book Awards were officially launched today by the children’s author and screenwriter Andy Briggs at a special event at the city’s Ricoh Arena. A total of 40 books for children and teenagers are competing for prizes in five categories aimed at different ages and reading levels – my latest YA novel, Twenty Questions for Gloria, has been shortlisted in the ‘Simply the Book’ category, for readers aged 13 and over. It’s the second time I’ve been in contention for this award, following Flip‘s shortlisting in 2012.

This is the 11th year of the awards, which are run by Coventry City Council’s Schools Libraries Service. Hundreds of children aged from 4 to 18 at participating schools across the Coventry area will be able to read, comment on, review and vote for their favourite books over the coming months. The title from each category with the fewest votes will be evicted on January 23 and the books will continue to be whittled down every week after this until February 20, when each category will be down to the final three.

After a final week’s voting, the winning books will be announced on March 1, to coincide with reading events being held in schools to celebrate World Book Day (March 2). All of the competing books were shortlisted by a panel of specialist children’s librarians and teachers and reflect a wide range of genres and styles.

GLORIA UK final cover 1In the ‘Simply the Book’ category, Twenty Questions for Gloria will be up against seven terrific novels by some of the leading names in YA fiction. Here’s the list in full:

Eve Ainsworth Crush
Martyn Bedford Twenty Questions for Gloria
Moira Fowley-Doyle The Accident Season
Nick Lake Whisper to Me
Philip Reeve Railhead
Dave Shelton Thirteen Chairs
Jon Walter My Name’s Not Friday
Matt Whyman Bad Apple

For full details of this year’s Coventry Inspiration Book Awards and to find out the shortlisted titles in the other categories, please click on this link to the awards website.

YA Shot blog

I’m grateful to Nazy at The Enchanted Bookcase for hosting my visit to her excellent website as part of the YA Shot 2016 blog tour.

YA Shot is an annual all-day festival for young-adult and middle-grade readers, bloggers, vloggers and aspiring writers, which is being held this year in Uxbridge, West London, on Saturday October 22nd, with more than 70 authors taking part in panel and in-conversation events, workshops and book signings. For my part, I’ll be chairing a panel discussion – “There Will Be Blood: murder and other crimes in YA” – with fellow YA writers Tanya Byrne (Heart-Shaped Bruise; Follow Me Down; For Holly) and Simon Mason (Running Girl).

ya-shot-tour-logoThe build-up to this year’s festival includes a blog tour by participating authors. My stopping-off point on the tour was The Enchanted Bookcase, a YA book reviews site, which invited me to post a blog on my switch from adult fiction to writing for teenagers. To whet your appetite, here’s the opening of the piece:

I have a former editor to thank for my first novel for teenagers – I wrote it because he advised me not to. After more than 12 years writing fiction for adults I had an idea for a story more suited to a younger audience. When I mentioned it over a pizza one day, the editor shook his head.
“You don’t want to write one of those.”
“Why not?” I asked.
He didn’t really give a reason, just shook his head again. With the teen market so buoyant, perhaps he thought I was jumping on the bandwagon, or that I wouldn’t be able to write well for that readership. Maybe he foresaw a “re-branding” problem. Whatever, I came away from that lunch feeling cross. Like any author, I resented being told what to write – or what not to write (he hadn’t even asked what the story was about!) I decided to go ahead with my YA novel and to hell with him, even if he had just paid for my pizza
.

To read the full post, and to visit the rest of The Enchanted Bookcase site, please click on this link.

And follow this link for full details of the YA Shot 2016 programme.

Festival gig

Deershed flyerNorth Yorkshire beckons this weekend with a trip to the wonderfully named Deer Shed Festival, where I’ll be rubbing shoulders with a whole host of musicians, singers, actors, comedians, storytellers, artists and other writers.

The family-focused festival, now in its seventh year, is expected to draw a crowd of up to ten thousand over three days of events in the lovely setting of Baldersby Park, between Thirsk and Ripon – 90 acres of parkland whose features include a lake, an obelisk . . . and a historic deer shed. I’ll be giving a talk and reading at 11.30am on Saturday on the Obelisk Stage, which has a capacity of 500 (eek!), followed by a book-signing.

For full details of the festival click to visit the Deer Shed website.

Coventry (again!)

GLORIA UK final cover 1I’m delighted to announce that Twenty Questions for Gloria has been shortlisted for the 2017 Coventry Inspiration Book Awards. It’s the second time I’ve been in contention for this award – one of the bigger regional children’s and YA prizes – following Flip‘s shortlisting in 2012.

Gloria is competing in the “Simply the Book” category for novels aimed at readers aged 13 and upwards. Voting begins in the autumn, with hundreds of students at schools throughout the Coventry area taking part. I’m up against some excellent YA authors and some terrific books. Here’s the shortlist in full:

Eve Ainsworth Crush
Martyn Bedford Twenty Questions for Gloria
Moira Fowley-Doyle The Accident Season
Nick Lake Whisper to Me
Philip Reeve Railhead
Dave Shelton Thirteen Chairs
Jon Walter My Name’s Not Friday
Matt Whyman Bad Apple

Gloria joins EU

Gloria - Spanish coverThe UK might be on its way out of the European Union but Twenty Questions for Gloria (and its author) are very much in love with Europe. This week sees the publication of the novel’s Spanish edition, Veinte preguntas para Gloria, by Montena, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in Madrid. This follows hot on the heels of the Italian edition, Tutta la verita su Gloria Ellis, which came out in June from De Agostini, in Novara, and S’Enfuir, the French edition, published in May by Nathan, in Paris.

Interestingly, each publisher went with a different cover design, as you can see. Meanwhile Gloria’s happy union with Europe continues with translated editions coming out soon in Germany and the Netherlands. Final score: Remain 5, Leave 0.

GLORIA - Italian coverGLORIA French cover

Best of 2016!

GLORIA UK final cover 1I’m not easily excited but I’m very excited by the news that Twenty Questions for Gloria has been included in The Guardian‘s Best New Children’s Books Guide for 2016. The guide, which was published with Saturday’s edition of the newspaper (June 18th), is also available in independent bookshops throughout the country to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week.

Books for children of all ages were selected and reviewed for the guide by a panel of booksellers from independent bookshops. Twenty Questions for Gloria is one of just 25 titles for teenagers included in the ‘Fiction 12+’ section, rubbing shoulders with books from the likes of former children’s laureate Malorie Blackman, Carnegie Medal winner Tanya Landman, best-sellers Francesca Simon and Michael Grant, and this year’s Costa Book Award winner, Frances Hardinge.

Highland fling

I’ll be heading up into the Highlands of Scotland later this summer to co-tutor a six-day residential course on writing for teenagers and young adults. Having taught numerous similar courses over the years for the Arvon Foundation at their centres in West Yorkshire, Shropshire and Devon, I’m very much looking forward to my first visit to Moniack Mhor, near Inverness.

My fellow tutor for the week is the excellent, edgy YA novelist Cat Clarke – author of Torn, Entangled, Undone and, most recently, The Lost and the Found – and we’re honoured to have the former Children’s Laureate, Anne Fine, as guest speaker during the week.

Young Adult Fiction Flyer
There are still a few places left on the course, which runs from August 1st-6th, so if you fancy spending a week writing YA fiction, attending workshops, readings and one-to-one tutorials – not to mention wining and dining with other aspiring writers in a beautiful part of Scotland – then please check out the details on the flyer, above, or click on this link to the Moniack Mhor website to make a booking.

Touring Gloria

I’m clocking up the miles in the next week as I take Twenty Questions for Gloria on another mini-tour. On Thursday, I’ll be spending a day at Merchant Taylors’ School, in north London, where I’ll be giving talks and readings and running a creative writing workshop.

GLORIA UK final cover 1Then, on Saturday (June 18th), I’m at Birmingham Waterstones for a YA ‘Thrills and Chills’ panel event, sharing a stage with Cat Clarke (The Lost and the Found), M.A. Griffin (Lifers) and Sue Wallman (Lying About Last Summer). For details of this event, which starts at 6pm, please click on this link to the bookshop’s website.

The mini-tour ends closer to home next Monday (20th), with another school visit. This time I’ll be taking part in a curriculum enrichment day at Allerton High School, in Leeds, running two creative writing workshops as part of Ilkley Literature Festival’s schools programme.

In Leeds, united

I’ll be sharing a stage in Leeds tomorrow (Sun 5th) with colleagues and students from Leeds Trinity University as we join forces to put on a showcase of our creative writing.Leeds Trinity logo No fewer than thirteen of us will be reading at the event – five students from the current Creative Writing MA cohort (Lucy Brighton, Sophie Joelle, Lewis King, Rebecca Leeming and Liz Mistry), five recent graduates (Lynn Bauman-Milner, Caroline Bond, Gill Lambert, Maria Stephenson and Hannah Stone) and the MA’s three tutors (me, Amina Alyal and Oz Hardwick).

big-bookend1-e1398617085807The readings will be mix of prose and poetry – I’ll be reading my latest short story, “The Wrong Coat”, which is included in the newly launched 2016 Leeds Trinity anthology Journeys: A Space for Words, published in May by Indigo Dreams Publishing. The event will be a celebration of the writing to have emerged from the course, which was only established in 2013 but has already seen a number of its students enjoy publication success for their poetry and short-story collections and novels.

Tomorrow’s event is part of the 2016 Leeds Big Bookend Festival: “Crossing City Limits”, and is taking place at 3.30pm at the Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds, LS2 7DY (just behind the bus station.) Admission is free. For the full Big Bookend programme please follow this link to the festival website.

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