Category Archives: Flip

Flip is the title of the first novel for teenagers written by Martyn Bedford. In this category are articles concerning the publication of Flip and its launch in March 2011.

Flip goes Lebanese

I’ve been delighted and flattered to receive fanmail from all over the world since Flip was published, but this week I got my first email from a reader in Lebanon. And a very nice one it is too.
Here it is, in full, reproduced with her permission:

“Hello there! My name is Margaux Essey, I’m 16 years old, and I’m writing to you from Lebanon.

I just wanted to let you know that I have just finished reading Flip today, and I bought it 3 days ago. What an amazing book! Wow! I am a person who loves to read, and I was looking for something new and came across it. How? Well, I saw a girl in my class reading it and the upside down cover caught my eye. I picked it up and, let me tell you, I was seriously intrigued. I begged my mom to take me to the bookstore and I bought it as fast as I could.

I really want to show all my affection for this book. Alex is a very likable character and the story is so believable, I fear it may happen to myself. The real Phillip is some cool dude with an awesome goth
sister and, honestly, the contrast between Alex and Flip just made Alex’s panic even more secular.

I love love LOVE this book! I especially felt bad when he visited his own house and his father kicked him out…

I brought this book with me to school and everyone is stopping by at my desk to see this strange book. Believe it or not, I got 5 other people waiting to borrow it from me or buy it! I can’t wait to see
what they think of the book. As for myself, the ending was very satisfying, although I would’ve liked to know more about what happened to the real Flip.

But that aside, thanks a lot for the great read! Have a nice day!”

Flip goes to Coventry

coventry logo
A trip to the West Midlands beckons next week with a session at the Literally . . . Coventry Book Festival 2013. I’ll be giving a talk and reading, followed by a Q&A, at Foxford School, on Tuesday June 11th and hope to meet some of the students who voted Flip into one of the runners-up spots in the Read It Or Else! category of the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards earlier this year. Among the other authors appearing at the festival, which runs from June 10-15, are Jenny Downham, Cathy Cassidy, Zizou Corder, Sarah Crossan, Alan Gibbons, Andy Mulligan, Celia Rees and Bali Rai.
Click here to link to the full programme and to book tickets.

What about Philip?

Not surprisingly, I’ve used my website and this blog as a way of promoting my books – using positive reviews and reader feedback, the announcement of prizes and nominations, and news of publishing deals at home and abroad, to present me and my work in a favourable light. Bad reviews, negative comments and professional disappointments don’t make it past the censor (i.e. me).

Then I received an email from a reader which took issue with a particular aspect of my novel, Flip, and did so with such articulacy, intelligence and critical insight that I feel it’s time to restore the balance a little. So, here’s her message in full:

Dear Martyn Bedford,

I am far too old to be reading Young Adult books, but I quite enjoyed your book Flip because it was very well-written … except that as I reached the last page I realized we were never going to meet Flip.

This gave the whole book a very strange, out-of-balance feel. We spent most of the book having a detailed view of his family, home, girlfriends, friends etc. but only through the eyes of Alex, who despised them, trashed the various areas of Flip’s life and then found his way home. Because it was well-written, it was easy to identify with Alex’s problems finding himself in someone else’s life, but somewhere in the background was the guy we never met, having a real horror trip, Invasion of the Bodysnatchers style, and we never find out what happens to him after he comes back, to find that his parents don’t like him anymore, his girlfriend is gone, his dog has died &c.

Perhaps it didn’t fit into the structure of the book, but would it be possible to write a stand-alone short story from Flip’s point of view and put it on your website? I don’t think I’m the only person who wonders what happened.

The other reason I thought the book might have this strange ‘missing’ feel, was maybe because, although the other characters all seem more or less solid and real, possibly Flip was never a complete character to you, more a collection of characteristics that Alex didn’t like. That would be very odd to have a character whose name was the book’s title but nevertheless did not really exist even for the author. I suppose it would also make writing a small follow-up story out of the question.

Anyway, I will look out for your next book, and look up some of your adult books.

With best wishes,

Flip’s Chinese whispers

FLIP ChineseIt’s always nice to return from holiday to find you’ve earned some money while you were away. So I was pleased to pick up a royalties statement from the doormat at the weekend, detailing the latest half-yearly figures for the Chinese-language edition of Flip. Total sales for this edition, published in Taiwan last year by Global, are now just a few short of 4,000 copies.

(Before you ask, I won’t be calculating this figure as a percentage of the world’s Chinese-speaking population.)

Flip out in paperback

FLIP UK ppbkToday is publication day for the UK paperback edition of Flip. Walker Books have gone with the same cover as the special flexiback version, originally published in March 2011, but incorporating a new tagline about the novel’s shortlisting last year for the Costa. At £6.99, it’s also a quid cheaper! Here’s a link to the paperback’s page on Amazon, where you can snaffle a copy for just £5.24. The gap between the two editions has been unusually long, partly due to the flexiback going into several reprints on the back of Flip‘s success in winning or being shortlisted for so many teen/YA prizes.

Bedford’s taut style and psychological insight make Flip a gripping thriller. (Amanda Craig, The Times)

A serious contemplation on what constitutes the soul.
(Dinah Hall, Sunday Telegraph)

Flip is captivating from beginning to end, with rich characters and a fascinating mystery. The story is also superbly written and brings out many themes that will leave you pondering when you’re done. Highly recommended. (James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner)

Near miss in Coventry

Flip has narrowly missed out on a prize in the prestigious Coventry Inspiration Young People’s Book Awards 2013. It was one of 12 titles shortlisted in the “Read it or Else!” category for 11-14 year olds, reaching the final four after eight titles were eliminated in a series of weekly votes.

Highly regarded teen/YA authors – including Sally Nicholls, Chris Priestley and Cornelia Funke – had already dropped out of contention heading into the fifth round of voting, the results of which were posted online today. This time it was my turn to be eliminated, along with Matt Dickinson, for Mortal Chaos. That leaves The Weight of Water, by Sarah Crossan, and Socks Are Not Enough, by Mark Lowery, to contest the prize in this category, due to be announced on Wednesday. Good luck to them both!

As for me, I’m delighted Flip made it into the last four titles in its section of such a significant regional award and am grateful to all the young people who read my novel and voted for it.

Flip clip

Just spotted a stylish video trailer on YouTube by Jenny Rock, a student (in America, I think), who produced it for a school English project on Flip. Ron Weasley makes a guest appearance!
Click here to watch the clip.

Praise from Huntsville

Some nice comments about Flip have reached me from faraway Alabama. The reviews have been posted on the Not Required Reading website, an online teen/YA book club run by and for students at Huntsville High School. Here are a couple of pull-out quotes:

The novel Flip by Martyn Bedford was a fantastic read; I could not put it down. This book was a great teen novel and I would highly recommend it to any teen that is, and is not, in to reading. It’s a jaw-dropping mystery that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Martyn Bedford is a fantastic writer. I would rate this novel a 4.5 out of 5.
Ben E.

I read Flip by Martyn Bedford in a matter of two days. This was not because it was a short book, but rather I couldn’t disconnect my eyes from the pages for more than a few minutes. The book was great all around. Even the depressing and tense parts were enjoyable to read, and those are usually qualities that repel me greatly from any kind of writings. I would give this book a 5/5.
Jackson G.

School’s out

My 2012 tour of schools ended with a flurry of activity in the lead-up to the festive break. Flip Trips, I call them.

QEGS, Wakefield

The pre-Christmas itinerary started at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Wakefield, with two talks and readings to the whole of Years 7 and 8, followed by a writing workshop with year 8s and 9s in the afternoon.
Then I called in at St Aidan’s Church of England High School, in Harrogate (two year-group talks, and two workshops, with a VERY busy book-signing session in the lunch hour), before heading down to Birmingham to give a talk and reading and to run a couple of writing workshops at Arden School, in Solihull. I was one of four authors invited to Arden as part of the school’s Inspiring Writing Week . . . they had Simon Armitage coming in the following day!

St Aidan’s, Harrogate

Wrapping up the tour for this year was a short hop to Laisterdyke Business & Enterprise College, in Bradford, to meet a group of Year 12 and 13 students. This wasn’t an official Flip Trip, as such – I was there on behalf of Leeds Trinity University, where I teach creative writing, to present a prize to one of Laisterdyke’s sixth-formers, Shazia Bibi, who came third in a national poetry competition organised by LTU as part of One Community Month.
Her prize (I hope she isn’t disappointed!) was a signed copy of Flip.

Flip wins in Sheffield!

Smashing trip to South Yorkshire today, made all the more enjoyable by Flip winning the young adult section in the 2012 Sheffield Children’s Book Award. This is Flip‘s fourth prize and the biggest so far, with more than 200 schools and some 5,000 pupils reading the books and voting across six categories.

I was living in Sheffield way back in 1995 when I heard that my first novel for adults, Acts of Revision, had been accepted for publication so it was great, and somehow fitting, to return to the city all these years later to pick up an award for my first novel for teenagers.

I was especially pleased to win against strong competition from some leading names in teen/YA fiction, with Chris Priestley coming runner-up for Mister Creecher and Liz Kessler in third place with A Year Without Autumn. The other shortlisted titles were In the Bag, by Jim Carrington, Heart Burn, by Anne Cassidy, and Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick. Unfortunately my friend Tom Palmer’s novel, Scrum, missed out on the Quick Reads prize (won by Bali Rai, for The Gun).

The event was held at Sheffield City Hall, with the announcements and presentations taking place in the morning in front of hundreds of enthusiastic school students, teachers and librarians, followed by book-signing. In the afternoon, we adjourned to the city library’s theatre for a panel session in which nine of the authors from the Young Adult and Quick Reads categories talked about our work and took questions from the audience.

All in all, a terrific day, very well run by the book award team from Sheffield’s excellent Schools & Young People’s Library Service.

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