Hannah Kate

poet, short story writer and editor based in Manchester

Press Release: Q&A with Melvin Burgess

hosted by Hannah Kate at The Portico Library

19th April 2018, 6.30pm
IBBY and Portico Members: Free
Students: Free
Standard: £3.00

The Portico Library hosts acclaimed author, Melvin Burgess, for a Q&A session that is supported by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY).

A Patron of the Portico Library, Melvin Burgess is an award-winning author of children’s and young adult fiction. Often referred to as ‘the godfather of teen fiction’ by the British press, his novel Junk, published in 1996, was widely lauded for its realistic portrayal of youth, drugs and sex. He was nominated for the prestigious 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award, which is presented biennially by IBBY. Previous winners of the award have included Tove Jansson and David Almond.

Many of Melvin Burgess’s young adult novels are known for their incisive and gritty portrayals of teens blended with dark realism. His first novel, The Cry of the Wolf, was published in 1990 and he has since written over 30 books. He was a recipient in 1997 of both the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Carnegie Medal in recognition of an outstanding year for the author. Junk was adapted for the stage as well as for the screen by the BBC for their anthology series, scene, in 1999.

His 2003 novel, Doing It, was known for pushing the boundaries for its exploration of contemporary morality for teenagers and went on to win the LA Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature in 2004. The controversy caused was such that it prompted outrage from the then Children’s Laureate, Anne Fine. His repertoire also includes writing for the screen, when in 2009 he wrote The Well for BBC Two. More recently, his latest novel, Persist, was published in 2015 and was well-received.

Born in Sussex in 1954, Melvin Burgess grew up in Ifield before moving to Reading at the age of 12; he has described himself as ‘extremely dreamy and shy’ during childhood. After leaving school, and after a nudge from his father, he enrolled onto a six-month journalist training course for a local newspaper. After deciding he wanted to have a career in writing, he left his role at the newspaper shortly after finishing training and began to write. A few years later he moved to Bristol and his years there inspired Junk. Moving to London in 1983, he began to write short stories, plays for radio and children’s fiction, before being published in 1990, when his first novel, The Cry of the Wolf, was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. The Cry of the Wolf has more recently been shortlisted in 2018 for Italy’s Stega Ragazze e Ragazzi Award. Burgess’s latest book, The Lost Witch, is published with Andersen Press and due for release in August 2018.

The event will be chaired by Hannah Kate, a poet and short-story writer based in Manchester, whose work has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. As well as being an academic writer (under the name Hannah Priest), she is a presenter for North Manchester FM and the host of a popular literature show, Hannah’s Bookshelf.

The event is supported by IBBY UK.

For further information please contact Aoife Larkin at the Portico Library.

Tickets available from Eventbrite.

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