Category Archives: 20 Questions for Gloria

Gloria in German

I’m delighted to announce that this week marks the publication of the German-language edition of my latest YA novel, Twenty Questions for Gloria, under the title #WoIstGloria? (Where is Gloria?). It’s published by DTV Verlagsgesellschaft, in Munich, and has been translated by Gerald Jung and Katharina Orgass.

Ciao Rimini, hello Coventry!

What a busy week! It kicked off with a brilliant three-day trip to Italy, to take part in the Mare di Libri (Sea of Books) Festival, in Rimini, to promote Tutta la Verita su Gloria Ellis – the Italian edition of Twenty Questions for Gloria, published by De Agostini.

On stage in Rimini

My event took place last Sunday morning in the wonderful setting of the Museo della Citta (City Museum) in the heart of Rimini’s historic and very attractive old town, parts of which date back to Roman times. I’m pictured, here, on stage with Simonetta Bitesi, far right, the writer and critic who interviewed me, and Emma, one of the festival’s young volunteers, who acted as interpreter – translating Simonetta’s questions in to English for me, then translating my answers into Italian for the audience. There were close to a hundred people in the hall – the Sala del Giudizio – and it was great to see so many teenagers among them (not least because the event started at 10am!).

This was the 11th year of the festival, the largest in Italy specialising in children’s and YA literature, and which included leading authors from the U.S. and Canada, as well as from all over Europe.

I’d barely returned to the UK, when I was on the move again – this time, bound for the Ricoh Arena – home to Coventry City FC and Wasps rugby club – and the presentation event for the 2017 Coventry Inspiration Book Awards. Pictured, right, is Isobel Powell, of the Coventry Schools Library Service, which organises the annual awards, giving the opening address at the event, held in a conference suite beneath the stadium. You can see my left ear and part of my head in shot! There was a real buzz at the event, with so many students of all ages from the participating schools to cheer the winning authors in each category.

And here’s a photo of the trophy awarded for Twenty Questions for Gloria in the Simply the Book category (for readers aged 13+), which was presented to me by Snya Riaz, a Year 10 student at Sidney Stringer Academy, who attended the event with the school’s librarian, Lynda Clapham. I’m grateful to Snya and her friend Nadira (sadly unable to be there) for championing Gloria during the voting process – and especially to Snya for saying such lovely things about my novel in her speech.

Off to Italy

It’s always nice to be invited to literary festivals but, it has to be said, some invitations are just a tad more exciting than others. So I’m especially pleased to have been asked to fly out to Rimini next month for the Mare di Libri (Sea of Books) Festival, which is Italy’s foremost event for young adult and children’s fiction.

I’ll be there as a guest of the festival and my Milan-based publisher, De Agostini, to promote the Italian edition of Twenty Questions for Gloria (published in translation as Tutta La Verita Su Gloria Ellis). For my event, I’ll be interviewed on-stage – with an interpreter, I hope! – by Simonetta Bitasi, a writer, performer and promoter of children’s literature.

The festival, now in its tenth year, draws in audiences of young readers from across northern Italy and is held in the historic centre of ‘old’ Rimini, a town best known as a destination for holidaymakers, with its glorious beaches along the Adriatic coast.

There’s an international line-up of YA authors at this year’s event, which runs from June 16-18, including several high-profile British, American and Canadian writers – among them, Carnegie medal-winners Kevin Brooks, Aidan Chambers and Jennifer Donnelly, as well as Kenneth Oppel, Katherine Rundell and Lisa Williamson – and the leading lights of Italian and other mainland European teen fiction. To see the programme in full, click on this link to the festival website.

Prize for Gloria!

I’m delighted to announce that Twenty Questions for Gloria has won the 13+ ‘Simply the Book’ category in the 2017 Coventry Inspiration Book Awards.
My heartfelt thanks to Coventry Schools Library Service for organising the awards, to the librarians and teachers who supported them, and, of course, to the hundreds of students in participating schools across the city who voted for my novel. I’m really looking forward to attending the prize-giving celebration event in the summer and to meeting everyone involved.

To find out the winners in the categories for other age groups please click on this link to the awards website.

Gloria in the final!

Hot off the press (well, the internet) . . . Twenty Questions for Gloria is in the final of the 2017 Coventry Inspiration Book Awards. The shortlist of eight contenders in the Simply the Book category for readers aged 13+ has been whittled down to the last three over several weeks of voting. Now, hundreds of students from participating schools across Coventry will be casting their final vote to choose a winner – due to be announced on March 1st, the eve of World Book Day.

My commiserations to the five fellow YA writers whose novels have already been eliminated and congratulations to the two who have made it to the final: Nick Lake, for Whisper to Me, and Eve Ainsworth, for Crush. I’m especially pleased to see Eve in with a shout for the prize as we have the same literary agent, Stephanie Thwaites, at Curtis Brown, and have worked together at a couple of events in the past year, including sharing a stage at the Hay festival. She’s lovely and Crush is a terrific book.

Gloria by the sea

The new year has got off to a smashing start with the news that Twenty Questions for Gloria has been longlisted for the ABA South Coast Book Awards 2017. Also known as the “Amazing Book Awards”, the prize was established in 2011 by school librarians in Sussex and, this year, has more than thirty participating schools along the south coast. Students from Years 9 and 10 in these schools are in charge of choosing the nominated titles and casting the votes, which makes it all the more pleasing to have been selected by my target readership.

There are twenty books on the 2017 longlist, including some of the best-known YA authors in the UK: David Almond, Holly Bourne, Sally Gardner, Patrick Ness, Teri Terry and Jenny Valentine. Voting takes place in January to whittle the contenders down to a shortlist of five, with the winner being announced at a special awards event in June following another round of voting. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards are made to the top three books.

To view the longlist please follow this link to ABA 2017’s Twitter feed.

Pick of the Welsh

GLORIA UK final cover 1Lovely to hear that Twenty Questions for Gloria has been shortlisted for a prize at a school in South Wales. It’s up against Tom Anderson’s Luca, Son of the Morning and Sofi Croft’s Eidolon in the 14+ category of the book awards at Ysgol Bae Baglan, in Port Talbot – a brand new school which opened in September and has around 1100 secondary-age students. I have fond memories of that part of the world, having been a journalist on the South Wales Echo in the mid-1980s and winning the Neath-Port Talbot Bay Book Award, for Flip, in 2011.

Made in Leeds

I made a rare appearance on television this week when one of the local stations sent along a reporter to Leeds Trinity University to interview me and my PhD student, Liz Flanagan. Liz and I have both been nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Medal – me for Twenty Questions for Gloria; Liz for her YA debut, Eden Summer, which she has been writing for her PhD in Creative Writing. It’s believed to be the first time that a student and supervisor have been in contention for the same literary prize.

carnegie-pic-me-and-lizSo, after Leeds Trinity’s marketing department released the news, Made in Leeds TV came along to chat to us in the university library to record an item which was broadcast on the station’s main evening news magazine programme, On the Aire. It was strange to be speaking in front of a TV camera again – the last time was about twenty years ago, when my first novel was published, and I appeared on BBC Look North and Sky’s books programme in the same week.

To see the Made in Leeds TV piece please click on this link. It begins 9 mins 40 secs into part 1 of the programme on 24/11.

London calls for Gloria

A smashing end to the week with the news that Twenty Questions for Gloria has been longlisted for the Redbridge Teenage Book Award 2017, one of the bigger regional prizes in children’s and YA fiction.

GLORIA UK final cover 1My novel is one of 15 selected for the award, run by the north-east London council’s Schools’ Library Service, and which will be read over the coming months – and voted for – by hundreds of students at 16 participating schools across the borough. The shortlist will be revealed at the end of May, followed by the announcement of the winner at a special event in July. I’ve read six of the other titles in contention and am flattered and, frankly, daunted to find myself in their company. The quality of teenage fiction just seems to grow stronger every year.

The award, which includes a children’s category, aims to promote the reading, appreciation and discussion of literature among young people in schools. Since it began in 2004, the winners of the teenage category have included some of the big-hitters in young-adult fiction (Malorie Blackman, Suzanne Collins, Darren Shan) and, in the last three years, the prize has gone to two Carnegie Medal-winning titles – One, by Sarah Crossan, and The Bunker Diary, by Kevin Brooks – and the international bestselling We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart.

Here’s the longlist for the 2017 award:

redbridge-longlist-booksCecilia Ahern Flawed
Tara Altebrando The Leaving
Sara Barnard Beautiful Broken Things
Martyn Bedford Twenty Questions for Gloria
Anne Cassidy Moth Girls
Nicci Cloke Follow Me Back
Helen Dennis River of Ink: Genesis
Kathryn Evans More of Me
Zana Fraillon The Bone Sparrow
Alan Gibbons The Trap
M.A. Griffin Lifers
Richard Kurti Maladapted
Simon Mayo Blame
Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Teri Terry Book of Lies

Gloria goes Dutch

gloria-dutch-coverTwenty Questions for Gloria was published in translation in the Netherlands this week, so I thought I’d share this striking cover image of the Dutch edition.

It’s published by Querido Kinderboeken, the specialist children’s and young-adult imprint of Querido, a prominent Amsterdam-based publisher which celebrated its centenary last year.

I’m especially grateful to the translator, Tjalling Bos, for bringing my novel to a Dutch readership.

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