Category Archives: Never Ending

Pick of the libraries

I’m pleased and flattered to hear that my young-adult novel, Never Ending, has been selected for inclusion in a nationwide reading promotion in schools. It’s one of 16 children’s and teen/YA titles to feature in the Building Bridges Conflict Resolution Book Group scheme organised by Cilip, the UK’s library and information association.

The books will be distributed in reading packs designed to serve as a resource for primary and secondary schools across the country. The packs, which include activity guides and topic sheets for each title, aim to provide book-based discussion and activities to support conflict resolution, encouraging students to think about how bridges may be built between opponents and enemies of different kinds.

“At a time when conflict takes place at all levels of society, this theme seems particularly appropriate,” it states on the Cilip website. “[It] will help students to understand both the reasons why people with different ideas may clash, but also how they may understand each other better and find ways to co-exist.”

Several leading lights of contemporary UK children’s and YA fiction feature in the promotion, including: Sam Angus, Malorie Blackman, Catherine Bruton, Brian Conaghan, Jenny Downham, Phil Earle, Zana Fraillon and Geraldine McCaughrean, so I’m honoured to see my name alongside theirs in such a prestigious scheme.

Never say never

When your new book comes out you tend to forget your old ones. (It’s the same with your children, of course.) So, having been caught up in the promotional whirl of Twenty Questions for Gloria in recent weeks, I was pleasantly surprised to be reminded of my previous YA novel, Never Ending, which recently celebrated its second birthday. By this stage, the reviews have usually long-since dried up and the only online references are links to sites where you can buy remaindered copies for 29p, or ‘Did you mean The Neverending Story?’

How lovely, then, to stumble upon the following review of Never Ending on an American blog. All the more so because the blog – Never Giving Up, Never Giving In – declares itself ‘dedicated to ending the stigma surrounding mental illness’. Dealing accurately and appropriately with Shiv’s mental-health issues was one of the main challenges in writing this novel, so I’m thankful (and relieved) that the reviewer endorses this aspect of her characterization.

Anyway, here’s an abridged version of the review:

never-ending-us-196x294Never Ending, by Martyn Bedford, explores concepts such as grief, trauma, family dysfunction and courage. In a nutshell, the main character, Shiv, is sent to an inpatient treatment facility to confront the death of her younger brother and the role that she played in the incident which killed him. I don’t want to give away too much about the actual plot of the book, especially since I think that you should read it yourself, but I want to talk about the themes because I think there is a lot that can be learned from Shiv’s experiences throughout the story.

Dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a difficult task, especially when the sufferer feels as though they are to blame for the trauma. For me, this story really allowed me to take a closer look at the impact that trauma can have on the thought processes of an individual. I really liked how this book portrays the recovery process as being raw, painful, and incredibly difficult. The reader really gets to see the inside of Shiv’s mind and understand what she is feeling and thinking. In my experience not many books are able to do this accurately so I think that readers could learn a lot from this.

More specifically, if you have experienced a trauma and want your friends and/or family to understand more about what you’re going through, perhaps reading this book could help them understand just how difficult it can be to overcome PTSD. Alternatively, if you have a friend or family member who has been struggling through the recovery process, perhaps reading this book might give you some insights into how you can be a supportive person for them or even just give you a better idea of what they might be going through.

I really enjoyed this book and I felt connected to Shiv in a way that I don’t often connect with fictional characters. If you’re an avid reader looking for a new book or someone who is interested in learning more about trauma, I would definitely recommend picking up a copy.”

To read the review in full or to visit the excellent Never Giving Up, Never Giving In site, please click on this link.

YA panel in Leeds

I’m delighted to be taking part in a YA fiction event at Waterstones, in Leeds, next month. I’ll be sharing a stage with four other young-adult authors at a panel discussion, followed by Q&A, on the themes of identity, diversity and mental health in teenage fiction – issues which are central to my first two YA novels, Flip and Never Ending.

never-ending-uk-196x300The other participating writers are Annabel Pitcher, whose debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, was a big success a few years ago, Kim Slater, author of Smart, Hayley Long, and fellow Walker Books author Zoe Marriott, who I met in 2012 at the final event for the Leeds Book Awards, when were both shortlisted. Zoe, an excellent fantasy writer, has recently released Frail Human Heart , the final instalment of The Name of the Blade trilogy. And I can highly recommend Hayley Long’s new novel, Sophie Someone, which I read recently and enjoyed very much.

The event is at 7pm on Thursday October 1st at the Waterstones branch in Albion Street, Leeds. Tickets are free but must be reserved. For full details, please click on this link to the shop’s website.

New Canadian cover

Never Ending - Canadian ppbk cover
I’m pleased to be able to share the cover for the Canadian paperback edition of Never Ending, which is scheduled for publication in September by Doubleday, in Toronto – part of the Penguin-Random House group. It’s the same design as the hardback edition except for the inclusion of a wonderful quote from Robert Swindells.

European double

I’m delighted to announce that Never Ending has just been published in translation in Germany and Poland. As you’ll see from the cover images, both publishers have gone with the design which Wendy Lamb Books produced last year for the American edition of the novel.

Polish edition

Polish edition

German edition

German edition

Published by Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, in Munich, the title of the German edition translates as “Last Bright Days”, while the Polish edition, published by Foksal, in Warsaw, means “Without End”. (That’s according to Google Translate.) I have to say, I’m very tempted to name one of the characters in my next novel Bez Conker!

Null in Hull

never-ending-uk-196x300Warmest congratulations to Chris d’Lacey, whose novel A Dark Inheritance won the 2015 James Reckitt Hull Book Award this afternoon. My novel, Never Ending, was among the runners up when the votes were counted at the Freedom Centre, Hull, in a hugely enjoyable day-long event attended by more than 100 Key Stage 3 students from ten participating schools across the city. It was a pleasure to meet and work with Chris and two of the other shortlisted authors – Sam Angus and Jeff Norton – as well as the excellent MC, Chelsey Flood, who won last year with Infinite Sky. Unfortunately the fifth shortlistee, Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, was unable to attend. The final event, indeed the whole award, was brilliantly organised by Tracey Acum and her team at Hull Libraries. Having also been a runner up in 2012 for Flip, I’ll just have to hope it’s third-time lucky in Hull with my next young-adult novel!

Heading for Hull

never-ending-uk-196x300They say it’s never dull in Hull, well that was certainly true this week when bright Spring sunshine bathed the city during my busy but very enjoyable two-day stay. I was there at the invitation of Hull City Council’s Library Service to visit some of the schools taking part in the 2015 James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Awards, for which Never Ending has been shortlisted.

During my trip, I called in at no fewer than five schools – Kelvin Hall School, The Boulevard Academy, Thomas Ferens Academy, Kingswood Academy and Winifred Holtby Academy – to give talks and readings, followed by question-and-answer sessions and book-signings. In total, nearly 300 students from years 7, 8 and 9 attended the events and I’m grateful to the teachers and librarians who hosted my visits, and to Tracey Acum of Hull libraries, who set up the mini-tour and chauffeured me around the city. I’m pictured with two students at Kelvin Hall, with thanks to the school’s website for my reproduction of the image here.

Hull - Kelvin Hall picThis is the second time I’ve been shortlisted for the Hull award – my debut teenage novel, Flip, was one of the runners up to Annabel Pitcher’s My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece in 2012. Never Ending is shortlisted in the secondary schools (KS3) category, along with Captain, by Sam Angus, A Dark Inheritance, by Chris D’Lacey, The Apple Tart of Hope, by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald, and Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie, by Jeff Norton.

Hundreds of students at participating schools across the city have been reading and discussing the five books over the past few months and voting takes place next week, when I’ll be returning to Hull for the final awards event.

Never Ending misses out

EBA_headerWell, Never Ending has missed out on winning the 2015 Essex Book Award but I’d like to offer my congratulations to Marcus Sedgwick, whose excellent novel, She is not Invisible, claimed the prize. The award event in Chelmsford last week was great fun, with around 200 students, teachers and library staff from across Essex cramming into the main hall at The Boswells School.

I shared the stage with one of the other shortlisted authors – the wonderful Geraldine McCaughrean – for a talk and question-and-answer session and we also handed out prizes to the students who’d written the best reviews of the six books in contention. (Well done Finlay Jordan, of Davenant Foundation School, in Loughton, for scooping a prize for the best review of Never Ending!) There was also a brilliant dance performance by students from Boswells and a VERY busy and enjoyable book-signing and photo session. Hats off to everyone at Essex County Council’s School Library Service for organising such a good event – indeed, such a good award.

The six shortlisted books were:
Never Ending – Martyn Bedford
I Predict a Riot – Catherine Bruton
Bone Jack – Sara Crowe
The Bubble Wrap Boy – Phil Earle
The Middle of Nowhere – Geraldine McCaughrean
She is not Invisible – Marcus Sedgwick

Essex by miles

Well, it was a long round-trip to Chelmsford for an Essex Book Award event this week . . . but a very enjoyable one. I spent a day at Great Baddow High School, sharing a stage with fellow shortlisted author Sara Crowe for a talk and Q&A session with more than 120 students from schools across the county, followed by writing workshops and a book-signing session.

EBA_headerThe enthusiasm of those who attended was wonderful – the whole place was buzzing – and the staff from the schools and the Essex School Library Service did a brilliant job of making sure everything ran smoothly. It was also a real pleasure to meet and work with Sara, whose novel Bone Jack is excellent. And it turns out we’ve both lived in a caravan for a while. Not the same one, I hasten to add.

The EBA is well-established on the regional awards calendar for teenage fiction, with nearly thirty secondary schools in Essex, Thurrock and Southend taking part, with the aim of encouraging KS3 students to enjoy wider reading for pleasure and to foster a passion for fiction and provoke debate among young people. Participating schools are encouraged to read the books through reading groups, class work and other events, before voting for their favourite novel from those on the shortlist.

EBA_headerThe students also post reviews and comments on the official EBA blog. It’s been fascinating to read some of the things they’ve been saying about Never Ending! From those who loved it – “This enchanting book was the best I have read in a long time, when you put it down it leaves you with nail-shaped marks in your palms (10 out of 10)” and “Never Ending should win, best by far. Left me on the edge of my seat” – to those who didn’t – “I did not enjoy this book because it was very dark and the subject was very traumatic. I would give this book a 5 out of 10 because it did not make me want to turn pages but shut the book all together.”

EBA_headerThe winner of this year’s Essex Book Award will be announced at a special event in Chelmsford on March 25th. The other titles on the shortlist with Never Ending and Bone Jack are Catherine Bruton’s I Predict a Riot, Phil Earle’s The Bubble Wrap Boy, Geraldine McCaughrean’s The Middle of Nowhere and Marcus Sedgwick’s She is not Invisible.

To Hull and back

Smashing news . . . Never Ending has been shortlisted for the teen section of the James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Awards 2015, following in the footsteps of Flip in 2012.

never-ending-uk-196x300Here’s the shortlist in full:

Sam Angus
Captain (MacMillan)
Martyn Bedford
Never Ending (Walker Books)
Chris D’Lacey
A Dark Inheritance (Chicken House)
Sarah Moore Fitzgerald
The Apple Tart of Hope (Orion)
Jeff Norton
Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie (Faber)

The winner will be announced at an event at The Freedom Centre, Hull, on April 29th.

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