Category Archives: 20 Questions for Gloria

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.

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

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.

Gloria in Canada

The Canadian edition of Twenty Questions for Gloria has hit the ground running with two great, high-profile reviews. Published last month by Doubleday, in Toronto – the same Penguin/Random House imprint as my two previous YA books – the novel has already found favour with critics at CM Magazine, one of Canada’s more prestigious literary journals, and the influential Joyous Reads book blog.

GLORIA UK final cover 1
Here are a couple of pull-out quotes:

“Martyn Bedford’s first young adult novel, Flip, won multiple awards in Britain and Twenty Questions for Gloria seems destined to do the same. Bedford writes beautifully.”
– CM Magazine

Twenty Questions for Gloria throws you into a shroud of secrets and mysteries right from the get-go . . . this book had me in its trance.”
– joyousreads.net

To read the reviews in full please click on these links: CM Magazine, Joyous Reads.

Turn to page 69

With the American edition of Twenty Questions for Gloria being published earlier this month, I’ve been busy touring the U.S. to promote it . . . virtually, of course. In real life, I’ve been sitting at my computer screen in the north of England, dropping in on book blogs and websites as a guest poster.

Gloria new US coverOne of the more unusual invitations came from Marshal Zeringue of the most excellent site, Campaign for the American Reader – an independent initiative to encourage more readers to read more books. Among their regular features is The Page 69 Test, in which authors are asked to post the text from p69 of their latest novel along with a commentary to explain how it fits into the rest of the story. The founder of the idea was Marshall McLuhan, a Canadian academic who proposed the theory that, when deciding whether to buy a book, you should test the water by reading p69. If you like that page, chances are you’ll like the whole book.

So below is the p69 post I wrote for Campaign for the American Reader – and here’s a link to the site if you’d like to check it out.

Page 69 Test: Twenty Questions for Gloria

My heart sank when I flipped to page 69 of the American edition of Twenty Questions for Gloria and discovered that it falls at the end of a chapter and contains less than half a page of text. Was there a rule about this – like a minimum-height limit for kids standing in line for a rollercoaster ride? Had my page 69 failed the test already, not on grounds of quality but because it just wasn’t tall enough?

Then I read what was there and my heart rose again. If I’d been allowed to choose any extract to encapsulate what the novel is about, I couldn’t have picked a better one. So, here it is:

D.I. Ryan:
Then he disappears for three days. And, when he returns, he backs off, gives you space. Lets you make all the running. Then he’s flirting with you again. Being interested in you, hanging out with you – reeling you back in. Only, he’s so good at it you don’t even realise.

Gloria:
I don’t care what you think, he didn’t trick me or manipulate me. It just wasn’t like that.

D.I. Ryan:
Okay, Gloria – tell me. What was it like?

As you’ll see, this scene is laid out like a script. That’s because this is a transcript of a police interview, in which Detective Inspector Katharine Ryan is questioning the heroine – Gloria Jade Ellis – about the fifteen days when she was on the run with the mysterious new boy at her school. Gloria has turned up but the boy, Uman Padeem, is still missing and the police have to find out what happened.

Gloria new US coverI should say that only a handful of chapters are in script form, as the interview unfolds. In between, we have the back story of how Gloria and Uman became such close friends, why they disappeared together without telling anyone, and what took place during the time they were missing.

The police, and Gloria’s parents, are convinced that she was, if not abducted by Uman, then lured away under a spell of infatuation … and that something bad happened to her while she was with him. In the scene which ends on page 69, D.I. Ryan is asking about the early days of their friendship, when Uman initially came on strong to Gloria, only to back away before being friendly again. Gloria was being groomed, the police believe.

She insists she wasn’t – they’ve got Uman all wrong, they’ve got the relationship wrong, too. According to Gloria, she chose to run off with him because he offered her the recklessness and adventure she craved in her life. She wasn’t his victim, she was his partner in crime. The question for the police, and the reader, to figure out is whether Gloria’s telling the truth. And why only one of them made it back.

Italian job

GLORIA - Italian coverHere’s a sneak preview of the proposed cover for the Italian edition of Twenty Questions for Gloria, which is being published later in the year by De Agostini.

The title is “The whole truth about Gloria Ellis” and the strapline roughly translates as: “Two of us left that night. Only one returned.” I love the cover image. I just wish I had enough hair left to do that!

Star-spangled Gloria

Gloria new US coverIt’s publication day for Twenty Questions for Gloria in the United States! Two months after my new YA novel came out in the UK, the American edition – published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Penguin-Random House in New York – has hit the bookshops, virtual or otherwise, on the other side of the Atlantic.

To mark the occasion, here are a couple of quotes from the most recent U.S. reviews:

“Taut and mysterious…Bedford’s skilful writing and unusual format will draw in teens who identify with the urge to cast off the mundane and find their place in the world.” – Booklist.

“Dropping clues with absolute control over the novel’s trajectory, Bedford builds tension from the initial interview to the surprising final scene.” – The Horn Book.

Hay day for Gloria

It’s taken twenty years but I’ve finally made it on to the programme for one of the big three UK literary festivals. I’ve appeared at plenty of the small, medium and large festivals but the mighty triumvirate – Cheltenham, Edinburgh and Hay – have always eluded me . . . until now! So, I am delighted to announce that I’ll be appearing at this year’s Hay Festival to promote my new young-adult novel, Twenty Questions for Gloria.

GLORIA UK final cover 1I’ll be sharing a stage with three other YA authors – Juno Dawson (Mind Your Head), Eve Ainsworth (Crush) and Patrice Lawrence (Orange Boy) – as part of Hay’s Haydays programme for families, children and teenagers. I saw Juno (then James) at last year’s Ilkley Literature Festival and am very much looking forward to being on the panel with her and Patrice and to renewing my acquaintance with Eve, with whom I share an agent (Stephanie Thwaites, at Curtis Brown) and who I met for the first time just last week at a get-together with other authors in London.

Haydays is billing our event as an opportunity to “meet the authors of four of the most talked about YA books . . . and hear how their books explore the complex and high-octane dramas of adolescence – including aspects of love, hate and psychological pressure”. We’ll be on the Starlight Stage at 11.30am on Saturday May 28th and tickets are priced £5.00.

We’re in exalted company – among the other authors appearing at Haydays are Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson, Patrick Ness, Malorie Blackman, Frances Hardinge, Francesca Simon, Cressida Cowell, Nick Sharratt, Melvin Burgess and the Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell. Haydays runs from May 25th to June 6th.

Click here for full details of the Hay and Haydays programmes.

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